Live Commentary: Partizan Belgrade 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur - as it happened

Mauricio Pochettino the Spurs manager directs his players during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Boleyn Ground on August 16, 2014
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Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Europa League clash between Partizan Belgrade and Tottenham Hotspur.

Tottenham Hotspur started their Europa League campaign by playing out a goalless draw with Group C rivals Partizan Belgrade on Thursday night.

On a night when very few clear chances were created, Harry Kane came closest to breaking the deadlock when his early strike hit the Partizan crossbar.

Both sides pushed for a winning goal in the second half, but were forced to settle for a point each as the defenders dominated in Belgrade.

Read below to find out how events unfolded.


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5.30pmHello everyone. The Europa League group stages start tonight, and I'll be bringing you talking you through the Group C clash between Partizan Belgrade and Tottenham Hotspur in Serbia. There's a long way to go for these two sides, but the prize in this competition is greater than ever.

5.32pmFor the first time, the winner of the Europa League will earn a spot in the Champions League next season. At times this competition has been seen as a burden by some English clubs, but that reward means that Spurs will be even more motivated to taste success. Can Mauricio Pochettino lead this team to victory?

5.34pmPARTIZAN: Lukac; Volkov, Vulicevic, Stankovic, Cirkovic; B. Ilic, Grbic, Drincic, S. Ilic; Pantic, Lazovic

SPURS: Lloris; Naughton, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies; Bentaleb, Stambouli; Lennon, Paulinho, Townsend; Kane


5.36pmIt's no surprise to see Pochettino make changes, with five first-team players left back in London. Hugo Lloris keeps his place and will captain the team. Federico Fazio makes his debut in the centre of defence, while Benjamin Stambouli starts for the first time in a Spurs shirt. Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen are all named on the bench.

5.39pmExperience is key for this Partizan side. They've started the season impressively by picking up five wins from five league games. Sasa Ilic and Danko Lazovic have been on the scene for a long time now, and they are joined in the attacking unit by 17-year-old Danilo Pantic, who is very highly rated in Serbia.

5.43pmDespite all of the changes, it's still a strong looking Spurs side. Pochettino has previously criticised this competition, but with it becoming increasingly difficult to claim a spot in the top four of the Premier League, he might feel that this competition is his side's best chance of reaching the Champions League.

5.45pmFazio, who arrived from Sevilla with a big reputation, underlined the need for Spurs to start well in the Europa League when speaking to reporters: "We need to start strongly in a difficult game in Partizan and try to get the three points. The final is in May but we must take it match-by-match and think about the next game. That's against Partizan and we need to win."

5.48pm

5.50pmWe've often seen sides struggle to find their form in the Europa League, but that wasn't a problem for Spurs last season. Andre Villas-Boas, in charge at this stage last season, witnessed his team win all six of their group matches. Their European adventure eventually ended at the hands of Benfica.

5.53pmBoth sets of players have finished their warm-ups and are back inside. It may not be the most intimidating stadium in Belgrade due to it's open feel, but the Partizan supporters are sure to create an excellent atmosphere from the first whistle.

5.55pmIsrael's Alon Yefet is the man with the whistle tonight. He'll be leading the players out onto the pitch in just a few moments.

5.59pmHere we go then. Everyone seems to be ready for the action to start in Belgrade. It's going to be Spurs who get the match underway.

1 minCROSSBAR! Spurs start pretty well, and with very few options available on the right, Kane does well to win a corner. It's Kane who collects the ball at the back post, and hammers a great effort against the crossbar from a tight angle. Inches away from an opener in the first minute.

3 minFantastic noise coming from the home supporters early on. Partizan are starting to settle now, but the match is still being played at a frantic pace.

4 minDrincic delivers an excellent free kick from the right after Townsend committed a silly foul. Fazio does well to clear with his head inside the six-yard box.

5 minTownsend holds off a couple of challenges before leaving the ball for Lennon. A chipped ball into the area is delivered towards Kane, but Lukac is quick off his line to collect.

7 minPartizan's supporters refuse to be silenced. They've not stopped singing since the first whistle, despite seeing Spurs dominate possession in the early stages. Patient football on show at the moment.

10 minStambouli and Bentaleb seeing plenty of the ball early on, but they've been offered very little room so far. Paulinho, playing slightly further forward, needs to find the space further up the pitch to ensure Townsend, Lennon and Kane are not left isolated in their respective positions.

11 minReally impressive start to the match from Satmbouli, who is eager to win the ball as far up the pitch as possible. Townsend and Lennon have shown some nice touches, but they've not been able to beat their markers on the wing yet.

13 minPoor from Paulinho, who drifts out wide to collect a pass from Townsend, but hits the first defender with a dreadful cross. Kane needs better service than that. Spurs pressing very well, which I'm sure will please Pochettino.

14 minBentaleb chips a long ball forward in an attempt to find the run of Lennon, who is just beaten to the crucial touch by Lukac. Good goalkeeping, but that was clever from the two Spurs players. At the other end, Fazio reacts well to block a Lazovic effort.

16 minPartizan are improving now, with Spurs twice forced to defend dangerous balls into the box by Vulicevic. Davies has been caught out of position on a couple of occasions on the left side of Tottenham's defence.

18 minLazovic manages to fool the referee by winning a free kick under very little pressure from Fazio. It's a poor set piece this time, though, and Spurs clear the danger easily.

19 minIt's Partizan who are moving the ball the better of the two sides now. Spurs have allowed their tempo to drop as a result. Townsend and Lennon are both being forced to come in from the wings to get involved.

22 minMuch better from Spurs as they work the ball from right to left at a good pace. Lennon plays a clever pass towards Kane, but Cirkovic makes a crucial interception. Very few chances to report since Kane's strike in the opening minute.

24 minSpurs get themselves into a bit of trouble by twice playing a pass back to Lloris on the half-volley, and the French goalkeeper responds by sending the ball out of play. That move invites pressure, but the visitors are holding firm.

25 minCHANCE! An extended spell of Partizan pressure almost brings the first goal. A long throw into the area somehow manages to evade Fazio, but Vertonghen responds superbly to block Lazovic's shot in the six-yard box. Brilliant defending from the Belgian.

27 minGood football from Spurs as Bentaleb drives the visitors forward with a powerful run. Paulinho tries his luck from outside the box, but his deflected effort goes wide. Partizan look slightly nervous at the back. However, Spurs can't take advantage.

29 minAnother corner causes problems. Neither Lukac or his defenders look comfortable as they waste three chances to clear the danger. The ball falls to Kane at the back post, but he fires a half-volley a long way over the crossbar.

30 minHalf-chance for Partizan as a deep cross finds Ilic, but the skipper is unable to keep his volley down as another effort drifts over the crossbar.

33 minSpurs are still probing away, and look comfortable in possession. You can't help but feel they're missing someone like Eriksen, who would enjoy finding space between midfield and attack. They're lacking a cutting edge at the moment.

34 minYELLOW CARD! The first booking goes to Townsend for dissent, and you can't blame the winger for being so angry. He looks to have the beating Volkov, who goes down without a touch to win a free kick. Frustrating, to say the least, for the England international.

35 minVolkov and Townsend clash again. The latter claims to have been struck on the face, but replays prove that Townsend only had eyes for the ball as they competed in the air.

37 minWill there be a breakthrough before half-time? A goal would certainly spark this game into life. Both sides have looked threatening at times, but we haven't seen enough quality in the final third of the pitch.

39 minIt's not been a great first half for Paulinho, who loses the ball in a great position just outside the box moments after being shouted at by his manager. The Brazilian has struggled to handle the pace of the game so far.

41 minWorrying signs for Spurs. Stambouli appears to be kicked two or three times by Drincic in the middle of the pitch as the referee looks to play advantage. It looks like he should be fine to continue.

42 minToo many bodies in the midfield as Townsend and Lennon both cut inside at the same time. As a result, a promising Spurs move slows down at the crucial moment. I'm certain Pochettino may be thinking of changing a couple of things.

44 minThere's a change just before the break for Spurs as Townsend switches to the left wing in a move which sees Lennon arrive on the right. The visitors are sticking with their patient approach in possession.

45 minBetter from Paulinho as he exchanges passes with Townsend before releasing Kane, who is forced to settle for a corner after seeing his route to goal blocked.

45+1 minPartizan break quickly from Tottenham's corner. Pantic carries the ball forward on the right before firing straight at Lloris from a tight angle. It would have been a wonder goal had he found the net from that position.

6.47pmHALF TIME: PARTIZAN 0-0 SPURS

6.50pmIt's been a tense, cagey first half in Belgrade. Both sides have enjoyed spells on top, but there's been very few chances in either box. Kane came closest to breaking the deadlock when he struck the crossbar in the first minute of the match. A solitary goal could decide this one.

6.53pmWill either manager risk looking at the bench now? Marko Nikolic could be tempted to bring on Ismaël Béko Fofana at some stage to boost his options going forward. Lazovic often likes to drop deeper, so he would probably benefit from that change. For Spurs, don't be surprised if we see Soldado, Lamela or Eriksen soon.

6.56pmSpurs have looked very, very comfortable on the ball. It's been a typical away performance so far, but they just need that moment of quality in the final third of the pitch. Bentaleb and Stambouli have been very disciplined in the centre of the pitch, ensuring that Partizan cannot control the tempo.

6.59pmElsewhere in this group, Besiktas are currently leading Asteras Tripolis thanks to a 33rd minute goal from Gokhan Tore. You can keep up to date with all of tonight's scores with the box on the right of the page.

7.02pmThe players are back out on the pitch in Belgrade. It will be Partizan who get the second half started.

46 minNo changes from either manager at the break. It's Partizan who have started the second half strongly, but no way through for the hosts just yet as Spurs clear a corner.

48 minYELLOW CARD! It really hasn't been a great night for Davies, and it's no surprise to see him receive a booking for pulling down Grbic on the right wing. Partizan win a free kick in a dangerous position.

49 minLazovic delivers a great free kick, but Lloris does well to punch the ball clear under pressure from a couple of Partizan attackers.

51 minWorrying few moments for Spurs as Vertonghen is forced to block Lazovic's shot from inside the box. The danger isn't over though as Grbic hits a weak effort straight at Lloris.

52 minIt's turning into a bit of a battle in Belgrade now. Neither side are keeping the ball as well, and it's Partizan winning the fight at the moment.

54 minSUBSTITUTION: Volkov's night is over as Nemanja Petrovic comes off the bench to replace him at left-back. Partizan are clearly eager to keep Lennon and Townsend quiet.

56 minSpurs are being forced to go slightly more direct in the second half, but the tactic isn't proving to be successful as Kane continues to struggle to get involved. We've seen very little of him since he struck the crossbar early on.

58 minYELLOW CARD! Branko Ilic picks up a booking for a late tackle on Townsend, who shakes off a painful one. Spurs look to be preparing some changes.

60 minSUBSTITUTION: Pochettino is clearly worried by Partizan's impressive start to the second half, and he's responded with two attacking substitutions. Paulinho and Townsend are the pair coming off as Soldado and Lamela are introduced.

61 minLLoris makes a very good save when a dangerous cross threatens to miss Lazovic and creep in, but the offside flag was up anyway. Partizan applying plenty of pressure.

62 minSoldado, who has joined Kane up front, drifts wide before delivering an inviting cross, but his strike partner misjudges the flight and a decent opportunity passes him by at the back post.

64 minSpurs continue to improve, but it's Soldado this time who fails to get an effort away at the back post after Stambouli had delivered an excellent cross from the right.

66 minPochettino has seen Soldado and Lamela involved on a number of occasions since sending the duo on, but the visitors are still struggling to make the right choice in the final third of the pitch. It's been frustrating for Tottenham's attacking players.

68 minBranko Ilic does brilliantly to earn himself some room before picking out Lazovic, who wastes his chance to shoot and is forced to settle for a corner. No success from the set-piece, though, as Spurs survive another spell of pressure.

69 minSUBSTITUTION: Sasa Markovic is the next man off the bench for Partizan as he replaces Cirkovic.

70 minIt's far too congested on the edge of the box as Partizan make the pitch look very narrow to frustrate the visitors. Lamela looks a threat when he does get the ball, but he's being forced to drop too deep.

72 minSUBSTITUTION: Final change of the night from Pochettino as Etienne Capoue replaces Stambouli, who looked good on his first start for the club.

74 minPartizan have been threatening from set-pieces in the second half, but Spurs have responded to the challenge well up to this point. It won't come as a surprise when I tell you that the home supporters are as loud as they were at the first whistle.

75 minCHANCE! It would have been a great goal, but Ilic should have done better with his effort which sails over from the edge of the box after Davies sent his clearance straight to the Partizan captain.

77 minLovely play from Partizan. Pantic picks out the perfect pass for Grbic, whose cross is headed over the crossbar at the back post by Ilic. It's a difficult one, but that's another chance missed by the hosts.

79 minIt's been a while since Spurs were applying the pressure further up the pitch. Partizan are just refusing to let up, and they're looking dangerous with a more direct approach.

81 minThe pitch in Belgrade really hasn't helped Spurs tonight. It's ben difficult for the players to read the bounce, and Partizan have looked far more comfortable. At this stage, Pochettino will probably be pretty pleased with a draw.

83 minSpurs win a free kick 25 yards from goal. Kane takes it, but it's a poor strike against the wall from the striker and Partizan are able to clear the danger.

85 minSUBSTITUTION: Grbic, who has been excellent on the right this evening, is replaced by Predrag Luka for the final few minutes.

86 minYELLOW CARD! Well, that didn't take long. Luka's first move is to be booked for a late tackle on Capoue.

87 minTime is running out for either of these sides to snatch a winner. A lack of quality in the final third of the pitch has been a problem. Will there be a late twist?

89 minVery good defending from Partizan. Nikolic is urging his side forward to make sure Spurs do not have any time to launch a late attack.

90 minThe fourth official confirms that there will be three minutes added on.

90+2 minThe pace is beginning to slow, and there's a few signs now that Partizan are happy to take the point. Both sides are being forced to take a direct approach.

90+3 minVery little happening in stoppage time as both sides lose possession on a number of occasions. It looks like it will be a draw in Belgrade.

7.52pmFULL TIME: PARTIZAN 0-0 SPURS

7.54pmNo late drama in Belgrade. Spurs will want to win every match in this competition, but this is not a bad result in a hostile atmosphere and on an awful pitch. Partizan were a good match for the visitors tonight, and they fully deserved a point. Very few clear chances, but a decent start for both sides in Group C.

7.56pmThat's all from our coverage of this match. Make sure you check out all of the reaction from the Europa League tonight, and you can now follow live text commentary of Everton vs. Wolfsburg at Goodison Park. Goodnight.

Mauricio Pochettino the Spurs manager directs his players during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Boleyn Ground on August 16, 2014
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