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  • Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Shamrock Rovers: Pavlyuchenko, Defoe, Dos Santos great-finish

    Tottenham recovered from a goal down to overcome a doughty Shamrock Rovers 3-1 with six minutes of real class in their Europa League clash at White Hart Lane.

    Stephen Rice's 50th minute goal put the unfancied visitors in dreamland as the travelling supporters were left utterly delirious and a historic victory appeared to be a possibility for a fleeting passage of play.

    But three goals in six minutes saw Tottenham break the visitors' hearts with Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe on target in quick succession, and a third from Giovani Dos Santos capped a clinical and ruthless response from the hosts.

    Harry Redknapp promised to again rest the vast majority of his first team but Aaron Lennon - who overcame a groin strain - and Defoe were handed starting berths, while former Spurs midfielder Rohan Ricketts was confined to the substitutes' bench for Rovers with defender Craig Sives passing a late fitness test.

    It was a frenetic opening with Rovers forced firmly back inside their half, and Tottenham unleashed a barrage of pressure on Richard Brush's goal from the outset.

    There was a cluster of half-chances early on, but the first clear-cut opportunity fell to Pavlyuchenko in the 19th minute as the Russian combined with Thomas Carroll to good effect, only to see his run ended abruptly as Brush smothered the ball at his feet.

    Rovers were constantly held under the cosh, and the woodwork denied the hosts in the 34th minute as Dos Santos jinked inside two challenges before his looping effort lobbed brush and cannoned off the crossbar to safety.

    Five minutes later, Danny Rose whipped over a testing corner from the left, and Pavlyuchenko headed powerfully on target with Rice clearing off the line with a timely last-ditch intervention to again thwart the forward.

    Both managers made changes at the break as Redknapp withdrew Lennon to afford Andros Townsend a run out, while Michael O'Neill brought on Conor McCormack and Enda Stevens at the expense of Stephen O'Donnell and James Paterson, respectively.

    Just five minutes after the break, Rovers were in front as McCabe saw his initial free-kick parried away unconvincingly by Carlo Cudicini, and Patrick Sullivan's follow up shot was turned in by the perfectly placed Rice to send the visitors into delirium.

    The hosts piled forward in their droves thereafter, and a fierce onslaught ensued with Rovers pegged firmly back inside their own half for sustained spells of pressure.

    Rovers' lead lasted all of 10 minutes, however, as Pavlyuchenko levelled with a powerful header inside the box to convert from Dos Santos's exquisite cross from the left, and Spurs were level on the hour mark.

    No sooner had the visitors gathered themselves, than Spurs were in front. Just 78 seconds after Pavlyuchenko's equaliser, Townsend whipped over a pinpoint delivery into the box, and Defoe stooped low to head beyond Brush and put Spurs in front.

    Spurs were suddenly rampant with Rovers' belief draining away, and an inspired run from Defoe saw the forward jink incisively in from the left as he beat three challenges and squared the ball to Dos Santos, who fired a clinical strike beyond Brush. It was the Mexican's first goal for Tottenham since February 2009.

    Both Redknapp and O'Neill made their full allocation of subs in the closing minutes for very different purposes, but it was the weary Rovers who had the final chance: McCabe went down inside the Spurs box, but the referee ignored the visitors' vehement appeals for a stoppage-time penalty.

    The club could have picked up a quarter of their annual budget if they had preserved their 1-0 lead, but it was a valiant effort from Rovers, while Redknapp's Tottenham go level on points with Rubin Kazan at the top of Group A after coming through a testing encounter.
    Dan Quarrell - follow on Twitter: @danquarrel

    Source: Eurosport


    Tottenham: Cudicini, Walker, Corluka, Bassong, Rose, Lennon, Carroll, Livermore, Giovani, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Gomes, Bale, Kaboul, Modric, Falque, Townsend, Kane
    Shamrock Rovers: Brush, Sullivan, Sives, Murray, Rice, O'Donnell, Paterson, Dennehy, Finn, McCabe, Twigg. Subs: Thompson, Stevens, Sheppard, Kilduff, Turner, McCormack, Ricketts


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