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Spurs see off Sheriff to seal last-32 spot

Tottenham Hotspur FC 2-1 FC Sheriff
Goals from Erik Lamela and Jermain Defoe were enough for the hosts to maintain their 100% record and qualify from Group K.

Jermain Defoe became Tottenham's leading scorer in Europe in their victory over Sheriff
Jermain Defoe became Tottenham's leading scorer in Europe in their victory over Sheriff ©Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur FC booked their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 and maintained their 100% record with victory against FC Sheriff.

A tight first half preceded an entertaining second in which the game came to life when Erik Lamela opened the scoring. Jermain Defoe then became Tottenham's leading scorer in Europe with a coolly taken penalty and it was also a night to remember for Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who replaced FC Twente's Sander Boschker as the oldest player to have featured in the competition. Sheriff became the first team to score against Spurs in Group K when Ismail Isa volleyed in with 18 minutes remaining, but André Villas-Boas' men held on to progress.

Tottenham started brightly with efforts from Mousa Dembélé and the returning Étienne Capoue proving early sighters. However, having soaked up a lot of Spurs pressure and limited the hosts' chances, Sheriff came close to the opener when Ricardinho played in Isa, only for the forward's deflected strike to hit the outside of the right post.

Ricardinho was involved again just moments later, latching onto Christian Eriksen's stray pass but firing wide. The second half settled into a similar pattern to the first until the 55th minute, when Eriksen unleashed a powerful strike which was tipped expertly onto the crossbar and over by Vjekoslav Tomić. It was a sign of what was to follow, and the breakthrough came five minutes later.

Lamela drifted in from the right and attempted a one-two with Eriksen which fell into the forward's path via a deflection, allowing him to shoot low beyond Tomić. Lamela was also key to Tottenham's second as he glided past two challenges before being brought down in the box by Djibril Paye, with Defoe doing the rest.

The deficit was nonetheless halved within five minutes as Isa reacted fastest to volley in after Friedel could only parry a Cadu effort. A Sheriff equaliser never really looked likely, though, and substitute Lewis Holtby spurned Tottenham's best chance of a third.