Stambouli strikes in the second half to send Spurs through.
Tottenham Hotspur have ensured their progress through to the knockout stages of the Europa League with a 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrade at White Hart Lane this evening on a night that was marred by three separate pitch invasions in the first half, which led to the referee taking the players back to the dressing rooms for a short period.
In truth, the three incurcions onto the playing surface were the only thing to enliven a tepid first half, although the constant breaks in play didn’t help either team to find a flow – although visitors Partizan were the more threatening throughout and probably should’ve gone in ahead at half time.
Once the players had returned to the field for the second half and the bizarre ambush marketin scheme was over, however, Tottenham began to turn the screw and create chances, with the movement of lone striker Roberto Soldado a threat to the Serbian defence all evening.
Indeed, when the goal came, it was former Valencia star Soldado who deserved it – but his deft clip over the onrushing goalkeeper came back off the inside of the post, allowing Benjamin Stambouli to tap home his first goal for the club:
After taking the lead, Spurs rarely looked like relinquishing it to a side who were already out of the competition and, indeed, Mauricio Pochettino’s side had chances to double their advantage – Harry Kane, for one, had the ball in the net before being denied by the linesman’s flag.
The home side settled for 1-0 in the end, however, and with Besiktas held to a 2-2 draw by Asteras Tripolis in Greece, they need just one point in Istanbul to secure top spot in the ground – can Mauricio Pochettino’s side go all the way in this competition?