Match Report: Gylfi Sigurdsson comes to the rescue but Tottenham still suffer frustrating Europa League draw at Maribor
Maribor 1 Tottenham 1
James Mariner is a journalist who has been boring The Independent sports desk with mindless statistics for over four years. Helping with various, wide-ranging desk duties and the endless researching of panels, James has an unnatural love of all things football, and in particular the Premier League. He cites Brian Sears among his heroes and can even find something interesting in Stoke v Blackburn Rovers. On a good day.
Thursday 25 October 2012
An out-of-sorts Tottenham Hotspur stuttered to a third successive draw in this season's Europa League, producing an uninspired performance in a limp 1-1 draw at Maribor. Gylfi Sigurdsson touched in a scrappy equaliser on the hour after Robert Beric's first-half opener, but Spurs' hopes of qualification for the last 32 remain in the balance.
"The group is completely open," the Spurs manager, Andre Villas-Boas, said. "I think we are in a good position. We have three games to play, there are nine points to play for. We are in third position. The group is very tight, it is not a group where the leader has run off with points."
Tottenham enjoyed the majority of play in the opening half but lacked a cutting edge and always remained susceptible to the Slovenian side's counter-attacking.
Jan Vertonghen, restored to the centre of defence in the absence of the sick Michael Dawson, Sandro and Jermain Defoe all went close but it was the home side who found the net first. Ales Mejac dispossessed Andros Townsend and Dejan Mezga tricked into the area before teeing up Beric. The hosts had their tails up and returned after the break with more endeavour.
Villas-Boas introduced Iago Falque in place of Townsend and the young Spaniard offered immediate threat on the left. It was from Falque's prompting that the equaliser arrived, Sigurdsson nudging over the line after Defoe's powerful shot was blocked.
Maribor, visibly growing in confidence the further the game went on, threatened toward the end, Beric again going close, while Vertonghen struck wide from distance for Spurs before the final whistle.
Qualification for the next stage remains in Spurs' hands, with two of their remaining three fixtures at White Hart Lane, including the return against Maribor on Thursday week.
Latest in Sport
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Transfer deadline day: The best memes and tweets, featuring Radamel Falcao, Javier Hernandez and Bart Simpson
Arsenal transfer news: Ray Parlour urges Arsene Wenger to make late move for Edinson Cavani
WWE Raw preview: Will John Cena continue to defy the threat of Brock Lesnar?
Danny Welbeck to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pictured in Rome as club close in on Manchester United striker for £17m
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain