A tremendous display from England international Jermain Defore was capped off by a wonderful hat-trick, showing the White Hart Lane faithful that Spurs mean business in this season’s Europa League. Following a stuttering start to their campaign, which has included three draws to date, André Villas-Boas’ men chalked up their first win of the competition on Thursday night thanks to goals from Jermaine Defoe in the 22nd, 49th and 77th minute. The win lifts the London club up to second spot in Group J and the supporters will now be a lot more confident of their chances of reaching the knockout stage. The 30-year-old, who has already bagged five goals for his team domestically and he continued his excellent form by giving Maribor goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic an uncomfortable welcome to north London. In truth, Spurs could have enjoyed even more goals had their other strikers, like Emmnauel Adebayor, been a little more clinical in front of goal. Nonetheless, the next round now beckons for them.
With two other world-class goalkeepers waiting in the reserve for their opportunity to shine, Hugh Lloris will not have been happy to endure a calamity just before half-time. As left-back Kyle Naughton, played a pass back to his keeper, Robert Beric, the Maribor striker, pressurised the former Lyon man and the Frenchman’s poor attempted clearance rebounded off Beric and into the empty net – it was similar to Fernando Torres’ goal on Wednesday night. Naughton failed to cover himself in glory with his pass that could have been a little more accurate. It was a disastrous sequence of events that made Lloris look and feel uncomfortable for the rest of the tie whenever he got a touch of the ball and it is definitely something he will be looking to quickly forget. However, the biggeer queston is, will Villa-Boas forget?
Although Spurs dominated possession for much of Europa League tie and ran out convincing winners, there were still one or two issues on display that they will need to rectify if they plan on going all the way in this season’s competition. Their offensive play was sublime, particularly whenever Gareth Bale and Defoe combined, however, defensively, they were not as polished. Aside from Lloris and Naughton’s mistake, Spurs also left themselves open to the counter-attack on numerous occasions. Maribor looked unimaginative and incapable of breaking down their opposition’s defence. Simply put, if they had been playing against a superior side, these weaknesses would surely have been exploited, and ruthlessly so.
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