30 Sep 2011

Tottenham survive Shamrock Europa scare

10:34 am on 30 September 2011

It was Irish football champions Shamrock Rovers' first game across the border in England in over half a century and for 10 minutes it looked like they were on the winning side in their Europa League clash with London Premier Leaguers Tottenham Hotspur.

Stephen Rice sent the huge travelling support into raptures at White Hart Lane when he deflected a Gary Twigg shot past Spurs 'keeper Carlo Cudicini five minutes into the second half.

Unfortunately for Rovers, Spurs' Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko headed home from point-blank range on the hour mark and within six minutes, Jermaine Defoe and Giovani Dos Santos had also netted to complete the turnaround.

Spurs ran out 3-1 winners to go level with Russians Rubin Kazan - who drew 2-2 with PAOK Salonika earlier in the day - on four points atop the group.

It was an excellent night all round for England's representatives, with Stoke City coming from behind to beat Turkish giants Besiktas 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium to go top of their group while another London side, Fulham, finally snapped an eight-game winless streak in all competitions, the Cottagers breaking their drought with a 2-0 victory at Danish side Odense.

Fulham move level on four points with Twente Enschede at their group after the Dutch club came from behind to win 4-1 at home to Poland's Wisla Krakow.

Birmingham City also came from a goal down to win 2-1 away to Maribor of Slovenia, last season's League Cup winners registering their first points of the campaign.

There was no such luck for Celtic, however, with Neil Lennon's side being denied a first win by Italians Udinese in a 1-1 draw.

The other match in a tricky Group I saw 2010 Europa League winners Atletico Madrid strike late to earn a 1-1 draw against Rennes in France.

Elsewhere, Raul made his 150th European appearance but was not among the scorers for Schalke as the Bundesliga side beat Maccabi Haifa of Israel.

Paris Saint-Germain have been tipped as one of the favourites to win the competition, but they were beaten 2-0 away to Athletic Bilbao.