Spurs take foot off the accelerator
Panathinaikos 1 Tottenham 1:MICHAEL DAWSON went from hero to zero within the space of 45 minutes as Tottenham threw away a glorious chance to register their first Europa League win against Panathinaikos.
Dawson has found first-team opportunities hard to come by under new manager Andre Villas-Boas, but the defender made the most of his recall in the first half by glancing home a Tom Huddlestone cross to put Spurs ahead.
The England centre-half was then at fault for the Panathinaikos equaliser in the second half, though, as he was outpaced by striker Toche, who beat Hugo Lloris after a brilliant through-ball from Giourkas Seitaridis.
Villas-Boas had made the shock decision to allow Dawson, Spurs’ club captain, to leave the club during the transfer window – but the England man turned down the chance to leave in a €10 million move to QPR.
It was easy to see why Villas-Boas was keen to get rid of the 28-year-old at times as his lack of pace, a likely result of his sparse game-time, left him exposed on at least three occasions.
To lay the blame for picking up just a point entirely at Dawson’s feet would be wrong, however. Spurs should have had this tie sewn up well before Toche was allowed to score.
The Londoners, buoyed by last weekend’s historic win over Manchester United, dominated for large parts against a poor Panathinaikos team ravaged by injury and well short of confidence after winning just one game this term.
Jermain Defoe, Clint Dempsey and Huddlestone all went close to scoring, but Tottenham took their foot off the accelerator in the second half and ended up hanging on for a draw that leaves them with just two points from their opening two Group J games.
PANATHINAIKOS:Karnezis, Seitaridis, Triantafyllopoulos, Andre Pinto, Vyntra, Christodoulopoulos (Mavrias 85), Zeca, Vitolo, Marinos (Sissoko 46), Owusu-Abeyie (Chouchoumis 90), Toche. Subs not used: Kotsolis, Fornaroli, Barbarouses, Lagos. Booked: Vyntra.
TOTTENHAM:Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen, Huddlestone (Sandro 81), Dembele, Lennon (Townsend 75), Dempsey (Sigurdsson 66), Bale, Defoe. Subs not used: Cudicini, Gallas, Falque, Mason. Booked: Bale, Walker.
Referee:Florian Meyer (Germany).