Skip to main content


  • Stalemate in Salonika
Subscribe to newsfeed 

Stalemate in Salonika

Posted on 15 September 2011  - 12:00

An away point was put on the Group A board as Harry Redknapp's young side secured a well deserved draw against PAOK on Thursday evening in the Europa League.

An away point was put on the Group A board as Harry Redknapp's young side secured a well deserved draw against PAOK on Thursday evening in the Europa League.

It was no more than the team deserved as the unfamiliar line-up quickly got to grips with the challenges of playing away in Europe and gave a good account of themselves.

Harry Redknapp gave further First Team opportunities to Andros Townsend, Tom Carroll and Harry Kane, while Ryan Fredericks was in reserve along with Jake Nicholson, Alex Pritchard, Dean Parrett, Jack Barthram and Kevin Stewart - Barthram and Stewart both Second Year Academy trainees.

Giovani dos Santos made his first start of the season, with Vedran Corluka and Sebastien Bassong restored to the side. Yago Falque made his Spurs debut following his loan signing from Juventus.

It was 32 degrees an hour before kick-off as the squad inspected the surroundings to a chorus of jeers from the early home support at a venue covered on one side, with a disused running track around the pitch.

Flares and bangers were going off a plenty just before kick-off, by when the temperature had dropped three degrees.

The opening minutes were a bit nip and tuck, with both teams trying a spot of keep ball. Particularly impressive in linking this up was Carroll, who stayed on the move at speed, always making himself available and always retaining possession.

The lead could have been taken on 11 minutes when Jake Livermore powered into the area, avoiding two lunged challenges before laying back for Falque to shoot on goal. He did and was on target, but Pablo Contreras was in place to clear off the line.

Six minutes later Vieirinha had a shot deflected narrowly over, the same player shooting across goal moments after following a pass from Dimitris Salpingidis.

There was what you would describe as a stonewall penalty claim on 27 minutes when, after a excellent passage of play, Kane appeared tripped by Contreras inside the area. However, the Serbian ref Mr Mazic viewed the incident differently and booked Kane for his fall...

Three minutes later at the other end the referee did point to the spot when Carlo Cudicini caught Stefanos Athanasiadis going through. Lino netted, but a re-take was ordered and this time around it was shot wide by the same player.

A Pavlyuchenko free-kick hit with considerable power brushed the top of the net on 40 minutes as the team continued to hold sway in terms of momentum. The Russian then shot over from a Falque centre.

The home team were dictating the pace to a slightly greater degree at the beginning of the second half, but on 55 minutes Pavlyuchenko outmuscled goalkeeper Dario Kresic who had rushed wide off his line, before knocking inside to Falque, who curled his shot just wide.

Pavlyuchenko himself shot wide from a free-kick just after the hour mark before, at the other end, PAOK came close when a low sweeping cross from Salpingidis was fired over the bar by Athanasiadis.

Fredericks came on for Falque with 10 minutes remaining, but it was PAOK who forced two fine saves from Cudicini - the keeper responding superbly to efforts from Vladimir Ivic and Athanasiadis.

Kane shot over from a free-kick after Townsend was tripped down the left flank before Vieirinha forced Cudicini into action again, this time palming away to his left, then Ivic against the crossbar in the final moments of added time.

Despite the late pressure from PAOK, it was a deserved point and a fine away display from the team.

PAOK (4-2-4): Kresic; Etto, Malezas, Contreras, Lino; Arias, Garcia; Fotakis (Ivic, 61), Vieirinha, Salpingidis, Athanasiadis. Unused subs: Chalkias, Balafas, Robert, Papazoglou, Sznaucner, Tsoukalas.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Cudicini; Walker, Bassong, Corluka, Townsend; Falque (Fredericks, 82), Carroll, Livermore, Giovani (Parrett, 90); Kane; Pavlyuchenko. Unused subs: Gomes, Barthram, Nicholson, Stewart, Pritchard.

Attendance: To follow.

Referee: Mr M Mazic (Serbia).