NK Maribor vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 2012 UEFA Europa League: Instant reaction

Shaun Botterill

Tottenham Hotspur were lackluster again in Europa League, as they drew Maribor 1-1.

Well, that was obnoxious. Once again, Tottenham Hotspur have fielded a strong team against respectable, but not spectacular Europa League competition and failed to come away with a victory. Gylfi Sigurdsson saved a point for Spurs in the second half, but the team's overall performance simply wasn't good enough against NK Maribor.

Maribor striker Robert Beric turned in a low cross by Dejan Mezga in the 42nd minute, giving Maribor a lead just before halftime. Tom Huddlestone completely whiffed on a tackle on the top of the box that would have stopped the attack, and the entire back line looked a bit out of sorts after that. There's no one player to blame for losing Beric, though he did score from roughly the spot Jan Vertonghen should have been.

Spurs' equalizer came in the 58th minute, following a bit of a crazy scramble. A cross by Iago Falque was deflected out to Jermain Defoe, whose blast at the goal was blocked. Sigurdsson was in good position to punch in the rebound, though Maribor nearly kept that out as well.

The game was a bit dull and lacking in chances as a whole, and a draw was a fair result. It's disappointing for Tottenham, but they'll be in decent shape if they take all three points from Maribor at White Hart Lane.

Some thoughts:

- Andros Townsend got a start, which was good to see. However, he did not play well. He was all of the things that people don't like about Theo Walcott, and none of the things that people do like about Theo Walcott.

- 15 months ago, Tom Huddlestone makes the tackle that he whiffed on. In six months, he will make it again.

- I really cannot wait for Emmanuel Adebayor to get fit. Jermain Defoe does score goals, but he's extremely frustrating when he's doing anything but scoring goals. I really think that the team as a whole will benefit from having Adebayor in the team, even if he scores less often than Defoe.

- Sigurdsson still doesn't look like Swansea Sigurdsson, but this was probably better than we've seen from him in any other match.

- Kyle Naughton looked rusty. I think he'll be fine.

- The officiating was atrocious. It certainly wasn't biased, but ended up benefiting Maribor. Spurs had two legitimate penalty claims denied.

- Lazio and Panathinaikos drew. Good news for us. We still control our own destiny. Three wins=first place.

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