Toché denies Spurs as Panathinaikos get off mark

Panathinaikos FC 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur FC
Tottenham were forced to settle for their second Group J draw by Toché's equaliser 13 minutes from time in the Greek capital.

Toché denies Spurs as Panathinaikos get off mark
Toché denies Spurs as Panathinaikos get off mark ©

Toché grabbed a late equaliser for Panathinaikos FC as the Greek club earned their first point in UEFA Europa League Group J against Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Michael Dawson headed the English team ahead in a first half characterised by a slow tempo. The visitors – who also drew on matchday one, against S.S. Lazio – paid for a lapse of concentration as Toché levelled with 13 minutes remaining.

The unhurried pace of the opening half suited the hosts, who were missing key defenders Jean-Alain Boumsong and Nikos Spyropoulos, and it took Spurs 20 minutes to spark to life through Clint Dempsey's 25-metre free-kick, which curled narrowly wide.

Jermain Defoe's penetrating run and cross then drew a smart block from Orestis Karnezis before Tottenham registered the first shot on target moments later, but Aaron Lennon's tame effort was comfortably gathered by the Panathinaikos goalkeeper.

Just when the hosts began to find their passing game, André Villas-Boas's side made the breakthrough in the 35th minute after Bale won a free-kick for a foul by Lazaros Christodoulopoulos. Dawson rose above the home defenders to glance in Tom Huddlestone's precise delivery. It could have been 2-0 four minutes later but Karnezis made a sprawling save from Huddlestone's snapshot.

Ibrahim Sissoko replaced Stergos Marinos for the hosts at half-time and Spurs survived a penalty appeal when the midfielder went down under a challenge from Kyle Walker as he surged into the box. Bale, whose influence faded after half-time, went close with a speculative shot from distance just beyond the hour mark.

Toché also tried his luck with a long-range free-kick, which sailed over, but made no mistake in the 77th minute when he latched on to a perfect through ball from right-back Giourkas Seitaridis to slide a low finish past Hugo Lloris and give some cheer to the vociferous home supporters.