Partizan Belgrade vs Tottenham Hotspur: Mauricio Pochettino fury at Partizan fans' anti-Semitic banner

Partizan Belgrade 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0

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The Independent Online

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was angered by an “unacceptable” anti-Semitic banner displayed by Partizan Belgrade fans in their Europa League opener last night.

A much-changed Spurs side got their Group C campaign off to a sturdy start by securing a hard-fought, goalless draw in an intimidating atmosphere in the Serbian capital.

But it was a solid performance overshadowed by the banner in the home end, inspired by the Only Fools and Horses logo. The name was changed to “Only Jews and Pussies” and was displayed at the Partizan Stadium throughout the match.

European football’s governing body Uefa is investigating the issue, pointed out to them by Tottenham officials, with a delegate taking photographic evidence after the match.

“I didn’t see it,” Pochettino said. “The club is aware but I did not see [myself]. But if this is true, then it is an unacceptable thing. It is very disrespectful. This is a shame, very disrespectful and unacceptable.”

It is not the first time Partizan have found themselves in hot water, having been thrown out of the Uefa Cup and fined in 2007 for rioting during a qualifying round meeting at Zrinjski Mostar.

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Harry Kane holds off the challenge of Danilo Pantic

Last night’s incident came just two years on from the racial abuse suffered by England Under-21s during a European Championship play-off in Serbia – in which Spurs defender Danny Rose, absent last night, was sent-off for reacting to racist abuse.

Away from the controversy, it was always likely to be a tough test for the London side, and so it proved. The visitors lacked creativity but started brightly as Harry Kane rattled the crossbar inside the opening two minutes.

It was the only noteworthy shot Spurs managed during the opening exchanges, though, with Andros Townsend having an effort blocked and Nabil Bentaleb, Aaron Lennon and Kyle Naughton all failing to find their targets with passes of differing quality.

 

Pochettino’s men were dominating possession but Partizan were dangerous, their first chance coming after 15 minutes when Petar Grbic impressively cut inside to square for Danko Lazovic, whose shot was blocked.

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Tottenham Hotspur's Roberto Soldado, center, receives the ball while being guarded by Partizan Belgrade's Miroslav Vulicevic (AP)

Spurs were a touch fortunate to go in level at half-time after being caught on the counter-attack in stoppage time. A quick break from a Spurs corner saw Danilo Pantic put through down the right, but the 17-year-old was unable to beat Spurs captain Hugo Lloris in goal.

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Tottenham Hotspur's Nabil Bentaleb (center) and Partizan Belgrade's Petar Grbic challenge for the ball (AP)

The visitors introduced Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela with 30 minutes remaining, which almost worked immediately when the two combined only for the former’s cross just to evade Kane. Pantic and Sasa Ilic missed the target as Partizan looked for a winner, while Kane could not beat the wall with a free-kick as the clock wound down.

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