Soccer

Spurs survive Shamrock scare

2011-09-29 23:20
Roman Pavlyuchenko (AP)
Paris -Tottenham Hotspur got the better of Shamrock Rovers in their Europa League Group A encounter on Thursday, but only after the League of Ireland side had taken a shock second-half lead at White Hart Lane.

Stephen Rice sent the huge travelling support into raptures when he deflected a Gary Twigg shot past Spurs' keeper Carlo Cudicini five minutes into the second-half.

The goal had come completely against the run of play, and the Premier League aristocrats were back level 10 minutes later when Roman Pavlyuchenko headed home from point-blank range.

Within six minutes, Jermaine Defoe and Giovani Dos Santos had also netted to complete the turnaround as Spurs ran out 3-1 winners to go level with Rubin Kazan - who drew 2-2 with PAOK Salonika earlier in the day - on four points atop the group.

It was an excellent night all round for England's representatives, with Stoke City coming from behind to beat Turkish giants Besiktas 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium.

Peter Crouch cancelled out Roberto Hilbert's opener before a late Jonathan Walters penalty handed Stoke their first win in Group E.

A 1-1 draw in the group's other game between Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Dynamo Kiev allowed Stoke to go top.

Fulham had gone eight games without a win in all competitions before travelling to Denmark to face Odense.

However, Andrew Johnson scored either side of half-time to secure a 2-0 win for the Cottagers, who move level on four points with Twente Enschede at the top of Group K.

The Dutch club came from behind to win 4-1 at home to Wisla Krakow, with giant Austrian striker Marc Janko scoring twice.

Meanwhile, Birmingham came from a goal down to win 2-1 away to Maribor of Slovenia in Group H.

Dalibor Volas put the hosts ahead after Blues' keeper Colin Doyle completely miss-kicked a Jonathan Spector back-pass, but a fine Chris Burke effort brought the visitors level, and Wade Elliott won it late on, as last season's League Cup winners register their first points of the campaign.

Next up for Birmingham are Club Brugge of Belgium, who won 2-1 away to Braga courtesy of Ryan Donk's last-minute effort.

There was no such luck for Celtic, however, with Neil Lennon's side being denied a first win in Group I by Udinese in a tale of two penalties.

South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung converted from 12 yards to give the Scottish Premier League side the lead with less than three minutes on the clock, but the Serie A outfit - who were missing star striker Antonio Di Natale - came away with a point thanks to Almen Abdi's spot-kick in the dying moments.

The other match in a tricky Group I saw 2010 Europa League winners Atletico Madrid strike late to earn a 1-1 draw against Rennes in France.

Victor Hugo Montano's deflected shot from outside the area had Rennes on course for a first win in 10 home games in the group stages of the UEFA Cup or Europa League, but a scrappy effort from substitute Juanfran allowed the Spaniards to steal a draw.

Elsewhere, Raul made his 150th European appearance but was not among the scorers for Schalke as the Bundesliga side beat Maccabi Haifa of Israel in Group J.

Christian Fuchs scored twice and Jose Jurado also found the target as Schalke recorded a win in the first match of Huub Stevens's second spell as coach.

Paris Saint-Germain have been tipped as one of the favourites to win the competition, but they were beaten 2-0 away to Athletic Bilbao.

First-half goals from Igor Gabilondo and Markel Susaeta gave the Spanish side a second win in Group F, while Mohamed Sissoko was sent-off to complete a miserable day for the French league leaders.

Earlier, seven of their followers were arrested following disturbances in Bilbao.

Shop windows were broken and chairs were thrown from cafes near San Mames, while one man was accused of hitting a policeman over the head with a chair. 

Results on Thursday from the Europa League (home teams listed first):

Group A

Rubin Kazan (Russia) 2, PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece) 2
Tottenham (England) 3, Shamrock Rovers (Ireland) 1

Group B

Standard Liege (Belgium) 3, FC Copenhagen (Denmark) 0
Vorskla Poltava (Ukraine) 1, Hannover (Germany) 2

Group C

Legia Warsaw (Poland) 3, Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel) 2
Rapid Bucharest (Romania) 1, PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) 3

Group D

Vaslui (Romania) 2, FC Zurich (Switzerland) 2
Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) 2, Lazio (Italy) 1

Group E

Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) 1, Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine) 1
Stoke City (England) 2, Besiktas (Turkey) 1

Group F

Athletic Bilbao (Spain) 2, Paris Saint-Germain (France) 0
Salzburg (Austria) 3, Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) 0

Group G

Metalist Kharkiv (Ukraine) 1, AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands) 1
Malmo (Sweden) 1, Austria Vienna (Austria) 2

Group H

Braga (Portugal) 1, FC Bruges (Belgium) 2
Maribor (Slovenia) 1, Birmingham City (England) 2

Group I

Celtic (Scotland) 1, Udinese (Italy) 1
Rennes (France) 1, Atletico Madrid (Spain) 1

Group J

Schalke (Germany) 3, Maccabi Haifa (Israel) 1
AEK Larnaca (Cyprus) 1, Steaua Bucharest (Romania) 1

Group K

Twente (Netherlands) 4, Wisla Krakow (Poland) 1
Odense (Denmark) 0, Fulham (England) 2

Group L

Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia) 0, Anderlecht (Belgium) 2
AEK Athens (Greece) 1, Sturm Graz (Austria) 2

Read more on:    europa league  |  roman pavlyuchenko
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