Europa League: Tottenham facing UEFA sanctions after pitch invasions

White Hart Lane: Players and officials head for the tunnel as play is suspended
Image: White Hart Lane: Players and officials head for the tunnel as play is suspended

Tottenham face an anxious wait on whether they will be punished after their Europa League victory over Partizan Belgrade was suspended, overshadowing their progress to the knockout stages.

Play was halted 41 minutes into the Group C clash after individuals encroached onto the pitch on three separate occasions in what appeared to be an orchestrated PR stunt.

The incident led to a temporary suspension of play at White Hart Lane with players forced to walk off the pitch and back down the tunnel. The match resumed seven minutes later with Mauricio Pochettino's team eventually winning 1-0 thanks to Benjamin Stambouli's first goal for the club.

Tottenham announced on Twitter that the three pitch invaders had been "arrested and are assisting police with Spurs their enquiries".

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They added: "We shall provide an update as soon as we have established the full facts. We apologise to fans for the disruptions caused by this totally unacceptable behaviour."

Two of the pitch invaders appeared to run around the players, taking 'selfie' shots on handheld devices. Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado looked to confront one of the invaders wearing a T-shirt which seemed to be similar to the other intruders.

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Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said: "I am very disappointed. I know the club will make a statement to explain the situation but I am personally disappointed.

"You never know maybe what can happen on the pitch, but the behaviour from these people was only to go in and to show I don't know who or what.

"I am very disappointed but I think all the club, our supporters, and all people that love the game of football too are because this is a very strange situation.

"It is very disappointing but it's important now that we are focused on the next game on Sunday and to be calm and focused on Sunday when we have a very tough game with Everton."

September's 0-0 draw between the teams in Belgrade was also shrouded in controversy after home fans displayed an anti-Semitic banner that led to UEFA fining Partizan and handing down a partial stadium closure for their next home match.

UEFA imposed a charge on Swiss side Basle on Thursday after an incident in Wednesday's Champions League match against Real Madrid saw two fans, who gave the impression of being more tourists than trouble-causers, ventured on to the St Jakob-Park pitch.

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