19 Aug 2011

Spurs look good in Europa League

12:09 pm on 19 August 2011

Tottenham Hotspur have all but booked their place in the group stanges of European football's Europa League after beating Scottish rivals Hearts 5-nil in their first leg play-off match.

It was a good night for English clubs with Stoke City beating FC Thun of Switzerland 1-nil, Fulham beating Dnipropetrovsk of Ukrain 3-nil and Birmingham drawing nil-all with Nacional of Portugal.

If it was largely plain sailing for the English representatives in the competition, it was anything but for some of the tournament's biggest names.

Champions League semi-finalists in May, Schalke of Germany fell 2-nil at Finnish minnows HJK Helsinki, while Italian powerhouses Roma lost 1-nil at Slovan Bratislava and Sevilla, UEFA Cup winners in 2006 and 2007, went down 2-1 at Hannover.

There were also disappointing results for the two other Scottish sides, with champions Rangers losing 2-1 at Maribor of Slovenia, while Celtic were held to a nil-all draw in the home leg of their play-off tie with FC Sion.

The second legs take place next week.