|I||Athletic||21:05||H. Kiryat Shmona|
Tottenham Hotspur FC failed to find a way past a resilient S.S. Lazio side and had to settle for a share of the spoils in their UEFA Europa League Group J opener.
Spurs coach André Villas-Boas gave a debut to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but the France No1 had little to do as the home side's attacking prowess meant his opposite number Federico Marchetti was the busier of the two goalkeepers. Lazio ultimately held firm, yet their winless run against English sides in Europe has now been extended to eight matches.
Tottenham started on the front foot and both Aaron Lennon – named captain for the night – and Gareth Bale caused problems for the Italian side with their pace down the flanks. Even so, Lazio had the first chance of the match when Senad Lulić crossed from the left, but Miroslav Klose was unable to connect as he slid in.
Marchetti then tipped Bale's header over the bar after Lennon had picked him out at the far post, but it was Lazio who came closest to scoring shortly before the break. Lulić swung over a cross from the left and Álvaro González capitalised on Jan Vertonghen's failure to clear only for his volley to come back off the crossbar.
Spurs were buoyed by Villas-Boas's half-time team talk and hit Lazio on the counterattack six minutes into the second half. The lively Jermain Defoe cut in from the right and slipped a pass to Lennon, but he was unable to get a clean strike on the ball as Marchetti pounced at his feet and the Lazio defence cleared.
Sandro also went close for Spurs, but, when Bale flashed a free-kick across the face of goal, he could only head wide from close range, obliging the hosts to settle for a point. Next up for Villas-Boas's charges is a trip to Panathinaikos FC on 4 October, when Lazio will host NK Maribor.
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