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NK Maribor 1-1 Spurs - Gylfi Secure..
NK MARIBOR 1-1 SPURS - GYLFI SECURES POINT IN SLOVENIA
Posted 25 October 2012 8:07pm
Gylfi Sigurdsson secured what could be a key away point at NK Maribor in the Europa League on Thursday night.
He was on hand to tap home the equaliser from close range after Yago Falque and Jermain Defoe had shots blocked in the 58th minute at the Ljudski vrt Stadium.
Panathinaikos scored a late equaliser against Lazio to leave the standings in Group J as we were before kick-off - Lazio top on five points from three matches, Maribor second on four, we're third after three draws and Panathinaikos bottom on two.
Andre Villas-Boas made three changes to the team that started against Chelsea.
Hugo Lloris was back in goal, Kyle Naughton came in for William Gallas and Andros Townsend replaced Clint Dempsey. Naughton started at left-back with Jan Vertonghen returning to a central defensive role alongside Steven Caulker.
The first half was a somewhat scrappy affair, a half of few chances with efforts coming in from distance.
Sigurdsson fired wide from the left of the penalty area inside two minutes but there was little to report in the first 20 minutes as Maribor looked to hit the channels and stretch the game.
We started to click later in the half. Kyle Walker went close from 25 yards, Sigurdsson did well on the stretch to angle a header on target from Tom Huddlestone's free-kick and Sandro fizzed a 30-yarder just off target.
Jermain Defoe hooked the ball over Jasmin Handanovic but wide after 37 minutes and it looked like we'd go in at half-time goalless, only for the home side to strike just before the break.
The goal was all about Dejan Mezga's dart into the box from the left and he squared for Robert Beric to tap home from close range.
There was a change at the interval as Falque replaced Townsend for his second appearance of the season.
However, Maribor had the first efforts in the second half as first Tavares' snapshot forced a comfortable save from Lloris and then Goran Cvijanovic lashed over from the edge of the box.
The equaliser arrived after a spell of pressure in the 58th minute.
It started with Sigurdsson's pass wide to Falque, his shot was parried out by Handanovic to Defoe, whose follow up blast somehow stayed out but the ball fell to Sigurdsson, who tapped in for 1-1.
We started to take control of possession as the game opened up but Maribor had the next opportunity and Ibraimi should really have done better from the right angle of goal, 14 yards out, where he fired into the side-netting.
Naughton and Walker looked to raid down both flanks and Naughton's run in the 73rd minute appeared to end with a trip by Milec, only for referee Mr Karasev to book Naughton for simulation.
Minutes later, Milec darted up the other end and his low cross found Beric sliding in, but he could only touch the ball wide at full stretch.
Clint Dempsey joined the action for Sigurdsson in the 75th minute and soon took aim, his 30-yarder straight at Handanovic. Jake Livermore completed our substitutions for Sandro with seven minutes remaining.
There was one final chance as Vertonghen let fly from 25 yards in the final minute, the ball whistling just wide with Handanovic beaten.
NK Maribor: Handanovic; Milec, Rajcevic, Arghus, Mejac; Mezga (Filipovic, 74), Mertelj, Cvijanovic, Ibraimi; Tavares (Komazec, 90); Beric. Unused subs: Pridigar, Ploj, Viler, Dodlek, Lesjak.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton; Huddlestone, Sandro (Livermore, 84); Lennon, Sigurdsson (Dempsey, 75), Townsend (Falque, 46); Defoe. Unused subs: Cudicini, Gallas, Smith, Parrett.
Goals: NK Maribor - Beric (42). Spurs - Sigurdsson (58).
Yellow cards: NK Maribor - Mezga. Spurs - Naughton.
Referee: Mr S Karasev.