Spurs surrender lead to Panathinaikos in Athens

Europa League Group J, Olimpiako Stadio – Panathinaikos 1 (Toche 77) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Dawson 35)

Spurs surrender lead to Panathinaikos in Athens

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Tottenham's Kyle Walker (L) vies for the ball with Toche of Panathinaikos (AFP)

Tottenham Hotspur failed to seal their first win against Greek opponents after drawing 1-1 in the Europa League against Panathinaikos.

Spurs looked to be coasting towards victory after Michael Dawson had given them a half-time lead with a deft header. But with time running out and their goal barely under threat, a defence splitting pass from Giourkas Seitaridis found Toche who slid the ball past Hugo Lloris.

It means that may have to win three of their final four matches to progress to the knock-out stages, having also drawn their first match.

As expected, Tottenham enjoyed much of the possession with Jermain Defoe again playing the lone striker role and enjoyed a comfortable first 45 minutes with Lloris’ goal rarely ever under threat.

Spurs had justifiable shouts for an early penalty waved away as the ball came straight off Andre Almeida Pinto’s arm direct from their first corner of the match.

A barely quarter full stadium then saw Spurs dictate for long periods. Clint Dempsey came close to breaking the deadlock, his free kick dipping just over the top corner.

But 15 minutes later and Spurs were ahead from practically their first direct effort on goal, Dawson stealing in unmarked behind the Greek defence to glance Tom Huddlestone’s free kick past a static Orestis Karnezis.

Karnezis was forced into more work almost straight from the restart, the keeper scrambling a fierce Gareth Bale shot behind for a corner.

An even better save was required minutes later, Karnezis getting down excellently to parry behind Huddlestone’s excellent half-volley from Defoe’s set-up.

Spurs had only one moment of slight panic from a fairly toothless Panithinaikos, Lloris momentarily took his eye off Seitaridis’ cross before falling to re-claim a ball that could have gone anywhere.

Panathinaikos began the second half with more purpose but Spurs again carved out the better chances, with Defoe and Bale twice going close.

But with the match drifting towards an away win with neither side looking threatening, Spurs were caught napping with a great ball from Seitaridis and Toche restored parity, earning his side a share of the spoils.

The Londoners will head home regarding the match as two points dropped from a game they were very much in control of.


Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham. Ran his socks off down the flank in attack and defence.


Tottenham: Lloris 6, Walker 7, Dawson 7, Caulker 6, Vertonghen 7, Huddlestone 7, Dembele 7, Dempsey 6, Lennon 6, Bale 7, Defoe 6. Subs: Townsend 6, Sandro 6, Sigurdsson.

Panathinaikos: Karnezis 6, Andre Pinto 6, Seitaridis 6, Marinos 6, Vyntra, Triantafyllopoulos 7, Vitolo 7, Christodoulopoulos 7, Zeca 6, Toche 7, Owusu-Abeyie 7. Subs: Sissoko 6, Mavrias 6, Chouchoumis 6.


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