Spurs throw it away
Panathinaikos snatched victory from Tottenham Hotspur with a late equaliser in an unspectacular clash in Athens.
By Rebecca Stephenson (@1rebs)
Last Updated: 04/10/12 10:26pm
Panathinaikos snatched victory from Tottenham Hotspur with a late equaliser in an unspectacular clash at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.
A Michael Dawson goal seemed set to clinch all three points for the visitors, and prove a point to his manager who had tried to sell him during the transfer window.
But they failed to make their obvious superiority pay and succumbed to the Greek's only quality move of the game when a superb through ball from Seitaridis caught Dawson on his heels.
And the out-of-favour defender was outpaced by Toche, who flicked past Hugo Lloris to secure a point for the home side.
It was a shame for Dawson who had made the most of his recall to the starting line up by glancing home a Tom Huddlestone cross to put Spurs ahead, but his part in the equaliser could undo the work to put himself back in the first team picture.
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 the 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.
A Spurs victory seemed certain from the off. Cheered on by the 550 fans who had made the four-hour flight from London, the away side started strongly and should have had a penalty in the second minute.
Steven Caulker headed Gareth Bale's corner towards Dawson, Andre Pinto stuck out his right arm to block the ball, but referee Florian Meyer gave nothing.
Spurs were by far the more attacking side and Bale's pace down the left caused Seitaridis no end of trouble early on.
The sparse crowd meant there was little atmosphere inside the huge Olympic Stadium, but the home crowd sprung to their feet when Seitaridis whipped in a dangerous cross. But luckily for Spurs Lloris intercepted ahead of Toche.
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos then latched on to Quincy Owusu-Abeyie's through-ball, but once again Lloris came to the rescue.
The shortcomings at the back were soon forgotten, however, as Dawson went up the other end and glanced Huddlestone's cross in to the far corner of the Panathinaikos goal.
Orestis Karnezis then saved twice in quick succession from Huddlestone and Bale as Spurs stepped up their search for a second.
The second half started well for the Greek side and Ibrahim Sissoko would have scored within 10 minutes of his half-time introduction had it not been for an excellent tackle from Kyle Walker.
Despite rarely seriously threatening, Spurs looked set to cruise to victory, but the hosts had other ideas.
And with 13 minutes left, Seitaridis slipped past Caulker and played a brilliant through-ball to Toche, who left Dawson in his wake to stroke the ball past Lloris.
The goal livened up the home crowd and their team poured forward, Caulker putting in a vital block to deny them a second goal.Andre Villas-Boas shared a warm embrace with opposite number Jesualdo Ferreira at the final whistle, but the Portuguese will have justification for being unhappy after seeing his team come away with only a point.
|Panathinaikos||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|1||Shots on Target||5|
|2||Shots off Target||3|
|47.3||1st Half Poss.||52.7|
|52||2nd Half Poss.||48|