Sigurdsson saves Spurs
Sigurdsson equalises Beric's opener to earn Spurs a point
Last Updated: October 25, 2012 10:07pm
Gylfi Sigurdsson rescued a point for Tottenham at Maribor to keep them in the hunt to qualify from Group J in the Europa League.
Robert Beric put the hosts ahead on 42 minutes against the run of play when slotting home from close range after a great run by Dejan Mezga into the box.
At that point, Andre Villas-Boas' side were four points behind their second-placed opponents in the group with three games played, while leaders Lazio were also winning at Panathinaikos to sit five points clear.
But Spurs had more threat with the introduction of Iago Falque for Andros Townsend at the break and drew level on 58 minutes via Sigurdsson.
The goal came after Falque's initial shot had been parried by goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic into the path of Jermain Defoe.
The Spurs striker blasted at goal from close range and his shot hit Ales Mejac on the line and fell to the feet of Sigurdsson to slot home.
Late on, Jan Vertonghan shot just wide from distance as Maribor held on for a draw to sit a point ahead of third-placed Spurs ahead of their clash at White Hart Lane in a fortnight's time.
The third draw on the bounce means Villas-Boas' side remain two points behind Group J leaders Lazio, who were pegged back by a last-gasp equaliser by Panathinaikos in Greece.
Villas-Boas named a strong-looking line-up in Slovenia, making just three changes to the side who lost 4-2 to Chelsea at the weekend.
Hugo Lloris, Kyle Naughton and Townsend came in and would likely have been joined by Michael Dawson had he not been ruled out with illness.
But it was a frustrating night against a Maribor side who came into the match with a record of just two wins in their previous 15 European games on home soil, with the Vijolicasti losing home and away to Championship side Birmingham in last season's competition.
The visitors dominated the early possession in Slovenia's second city and took two minutes to get away their first shot, with Sigurdsson shooting wide after collecting a cross from Kyle Walker.
Maribor's main threat came on the counter-attack and they found the net through Beric, although the striker had already been rightly flagged offside much to the home support's audible frustration.
The game settled down after a frantic opening as the hosts started to make inroads forward, only to be let down time and time again by awry passing.
Agim Ibraimi saw a looped effort easily denied by Lloris as the home side looked for a surprise opener in a first half of few chances.
Walker lashed a 20-yard effort harmlessly wide and Vertonghen saw a tame header easily caught by Handanovic as Tottenham pushed for the evening's first goal.
Sandro came close with a fierce 25-yard drive that drifted just wide, before Defoe directed over from the Brazil international's cutback.
Villas-Boas' side almost paid for their profligacy in front of goal after 39 minutes when Mejac found space to hit a hopeful 30-yard strike just wide.
It was a warning Tottenham failed to heed and three minutes later Maribor made them pay.
Mezga did superbly down the left and skipped past Tom Huddlestone's challenge, before dinking the ball over Lloris for under-pressure Beric to stab home.
Villas-Boas replaced the ineffective Townsend with Falque for the second half but it was Maribor who were first to threaten.
Mejac ran down the left four minutes after the restart and played through Marcos Tavares, whose goal-bound prod was easily denied by Lloris.
The hosts, clearly buoyed by their first-half goal, saw Goran Cvijanovic fire over from distance as they again came close moments later but by the 58th minute the score was level.
Substitute Falque's cross from the left fell for Defoe, whose thumping effort was somehow cleared off the line but fell straight for Sigurdsson to score from close range.
Ibraimi struck the side-netting as Maribor looked to make an immediate response, before Defoe and Walker produced strikes at the other end.
Naughton was booked for diving as Tottenham desperately searched for a winner, which left them exposed at the back and saw Beric come close to directing home.Substitute Clint Dempsey tested Handanovic as Spurs desperately searched for a winner, which never came despite Vertonghen's best efforts late on.
|NK Maribor||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||5|
|4||Shots off Target||8|
|47.6||1st Half Poss.||52.4|
|37.6||2nd Half Poss.||62.4|
Thu 25th Oct - Group H
Rubin1 - 0Neftchi
Inter1 - 0Partizan
Thu 25th Oct - Group G
Genk2 - 1Sporting
Videoton2 - 1Basel
Thu 25th Oct - Group L
Helsingborgs1 - 2Hannover
Levante3 - 0Twente
Thu 25th Oct - Group K
Rosenborg1 - 2Metalist
Rapid Vienna0 - 4Leverkusen
Thu 25th Oct - Group J
Panathinaikos1 - 1Lazio
Maribor1 - 1Tottenham
Thu 25th Oct - Group I
Sp Prague3 - 1Hapoel KS
Lyon2 - 1Ath Bilbao
Thu 25th Oct - Group A
Young Boys3 - 1Udinese
Liverpool1 - 0A Mak'kala
Thu 25th Oct - Group F
PSV1 - 1AIK
Dnipro3 - 1Napoli
Thu 25th Oct - Group E
S Bucuresti2 - 0Molde
Stuttgart0 - 0FC Cop'hagen
Thu 25th Oct - Group D
Newcastle1 - 0Club Brugge
Maritimo1 - 1Bordeaux
Thu 25th Oct - Group C
M'gladbach2 - 0Marseille
AEL0 - 1Fenerbahce
Thu 25th Oct - Group B
A Madrid2 - 1Academica
Hap Tel-Aviv1 - 2Plzen
Europa League Group A
Europa League Group B
Europa League Group C
|1||Red Bull Salzburg||5||15|
Europa League Group D
Europa League Group E
Europa League Group F
|2||Maccabi Tel Aviv||5||8|
Europa League Group G
Europa League Group H
Europa League Group I
|3||Vitoria de Guimaraes||5||5|
Europa League Group J
Europa League Group K
|3||Sheriff Tiraspol (Mol)||5||3|
Europa League Group L
|3||Maccabi Haifa (Isr)||5||2|