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Europa League: Spurs facing elimination following draw in Slovenia

Gylfi Sigurdsson rescued a point for the Londoners who are still without a win in their group.

Gylfi Sigurdsson bundled in the Spurs equaliser.
Gylfi Sigurdsson bundled in the Spurs equaliser.
Image: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR HAD to settle for a third straight Europa League draw this evening when they were held 1-1 at Slovenia’s Maribor.

Midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson rescued a point to keep the Londoners in touch with Group J leaders Lazio, who could only manage the same scoreline at Panathinaikos.

Spurs trail the Italians by two points after a poor showing at the Stadion Ljudski, where last season Maribor were not good enough to see off second tier English Championship side Birmingham.

Robert Beric fired in from close range three minutes before the break for Maribor, forcing Spurs’ boss Andre Villas-Boas to make a change.

He sent on Spaniard Iago Falque and, on 58 minutes, he whipped over the cross which ultimately saw Sigurdsson convert in a goalmouth melee.

Tweaking the line-up

Beaten at home by Chelsea at the weekend, Spurs had every reason to atone with Villas-Boas making three changes as Hugo Lloris, Kyle Naughton and Andros Townsend came in.

But they could not prise apart a dogged home side despite early pressure and Ales Mejac could have inflicted further damage as he fired just off target shortly before Beric bundled in the hosts’ goal.

Spurs now lie third in the four team group.

Of some consolation to Spurs was Jose Verdu Nicolas’s last-gasp leveller for Panathinaikos which denied Lazio a win which looked to be there for the taking for the Romans after Georgios Seitaridis had put through his own goal in the first half.

In other Europa action, Genk of Belgium made it three wins in three by defeating Sporting Lisbon 2-1 while Hungary’s Videoton are second after beating Swiss side Basel in Group G.

Former European champions Inter Milan lead Group H after Rodrigo Palacio netted the only goal against Partizan Belgrade but Russia’s Rubin Kazan edged Neftci of Azerbaijan by the same score to stay level on points with seven from three games.

French side were grateful for a Jimmy Briand goal four minutes from time to record a 2-1 win over Group I tailenders Athletic Bilbao. Sparta Prague lie second after a 3-1 win over Israel’s Hapoel Kiryat Shmona.

- © AFP, 2012

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