Spurs get point needed to progress

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Spartak Moscow 2
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The Independent Football

Tom Huddlestone's header earned Tottenham the point they needed against Spartak Moscow to reach the UEFA Cup knockout stages - but it was an uncomfortable night for Harry Redknapp's men.

Redknapp insists it is easier to get in this competition than it is to get out - and his players proved him right with a woeful first 45 minutes at White Hart Lane where Artem Dzuba scored twice for the Russians.

It took Luka Modric's first Spurs goal and Huddlestone's leveller to earn the draw they needed to be sure of a path out of Group D.

Europe is not Redknapp's priority but this result highlighted the lack of depth the Spurs boss has in his squad - none of his first-choice defenders were available and they were ruthlessly exposed.

Gilberto was guilty of an error for the opener and the Brazilian full-back was hauled off at half-time, which is how his debut in March against PSV Eindhoven ended.

It was his first appearance under Redknapp and only his second this season, with the other match also seeing him substituted at the interval under Juande Ramos.

Redknapp has bemoaned a lack of numbers and it is no surprise he has been linked with the likes of Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson at former club Portsmouth.

The visitors were coached by Danish legend Michael Laudrup, whose previous visit to the ground was the bizarre night last season when news of Martin Jol's sacking circulated around the ground while the Dutchman was still in the dugout against Getafe.

Laudrup's men rocked the hosts, with Redknapp also getting irritated by the fourth official blocking his view of the half his team were defending in the opening period.

Dzuba, a huge centre-forward, was at the centre of the attacks the visitors created, and he almost got on the end of Artur Maloyan's early cross after an exciting run.

Dzuba then backheeled for Vadislav Rizhkov to shoot from the edge of the area - but the effort was straight at goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

It was Dzuba who inevitably grabbed the opener - but Gilberto was clearly at fault for gifting the striker the opportunity.

Gareth Bale passed the ball towards Gilberto but the full-back left the ball for Gomes, allowing Dzuba to nip in and squeeze his finish through the legs of the goalkeeper.

When Dzuba's second came, in the 33rd minute, it could also be filed under farcical.

The beanpole forward tapped the ball around Didier Zokora and was allowed to skip beyond the Spurs defence and round Gomes before finishing into an empty net.

Dzuba could have had a first-half hat-trick but Gomes parried his deflected effort as the interval approached.

Redknapp's response at the interval was to take off Gilberto and put on Aaron Lennon, signalling his intentions for the second half.

The first danger after the restart came from the other flank, with Fraizer Campbell getting his header saved by Stipe Pletikosa after meeting Jamie O'Hara's cross on the left.

Dzuba was presented another opportunity - this time Zokora's clearance went straight to him - but he fired straight at Gomes.

Modric then pulled one back for the hosts, tucking his finish under Pletikosa from Lennon's pull-back from the right.

Huddlestone levelled the match 74th minute by thumping his header beyond Pletikosa from Bale's cross after David Bentley had sent the Wales youngster down the left.

Pletikosa's reaction save from Campbell prevented a Spurs win.

NEC Nijmegen's victory against Udinese made Spurs' comeback all the more important, with Redknapp's men finishing second in the group - and a clash against a Champions League drop-out next.