Live Commentary: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 NK Maribor - as it happened

Andre Villas-Boas
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of Tottenham Hotspur's crucial Europa League match against NK Maribor at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur welcomed NK Maribor to White Hart Lane on Thursday evening knowing that a win was a must if they were to improve their chances of progress in the Europa League.

Despite taking the lead through Jermain Defoe, a mistake in defence allowed Robert Beric to equalise before half-time.

Two more goals from Defoe in the second half saw Andre Villas-Boas's side cruise to victory and move to second in Group J with two games remaining.

Read how the action unfolded below.


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7.39pmWelcome to tonight's coverage and we'll begin with the team news.

7.39pmSpurs: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton, Lennon, Huddlestone, Carroll, Bale, Defoe, Adebayor

7.40pmMaribor: Handanovic, Milec, Rajcevic, Arghus, Mejac, Cvijanovic, Mertelj, Filipovic, Ibraimi, Tavares, Beric

7.41pmThe big news for Spurs fans is that Emmanuel Adebayor starts his first game of the season and will partner Jermain Defoe in attack.

7.42pmIt looks like a very attacking lineup for Spurs and Andre Villas-Boas is desperate for three points tonight.

7.44pmSpurs have had troubles with injuries in central midfield but Tom Carroll has impressed in this competition over the last couple of the seasons.

7.47pmMaribor will fancy their chances tonight and will be full of confidence following the draw in the reverse fixture in Slovenia. A victory for the visitors would be a massive result.

7.51pmIn the other Group J fixture, Lazio host Panathinaikos at the Stadio Olimpico in a game that could have huge ramifications on Spurs and Maribor respectively.

7.56pmFabrice Muamba is a guest of Tottenham's tonight and will make an appearance on the pitch at half-time. Nice touch from the club.

7.57pmLess than 10 minutes away from kick-off now.

8.01pmThe players are in the tunnel now, you feel Spurs need an early goal to settle the supporters down.

8.05pmMaribor will get the game underway.

1 minSpurs settle quickly and Lennon wins an early corner.

2 minsHuddlestone takes the corner but Adebayor is too far out to direct his header on target.

3 minsIt sounds like a very good atmosphere inside White Hart Lane as Bale wins another corner with a deflected cross.

4 minsThe set-piece comes to nothing and Maribor do well to clear the danger.

6 minsBale looks a threat to the Maribor defence already as the Welsh winger storms down the left wing before clipping the ball just beyond Adebayor.

7 minsThe pressure continues from Spurs as Bale's progress is stopped this time, corner.

8 minsIt's Bale who makes contact with the corner but his header is cleared. Good early signs for Spurs.

9 minsGood chance for Spurs as Adebayor picks out Defoe but the striker fails to make meaningful contact with a half volley on the turn.

10 minsMaribor enjoy their first spell of possession in the match but it ends when Filipovic chips the ball out of play.

12 minsTavares has a glimpse of goal but his effort is quickly blocked by Dawson and Spurs move away.

14 minsHopeful shouts for a penalty from the Spurs crowd when Adebayor is dispossessed by Arghus but that won't be given.

16 minsBale's pace allows him to burst into the box but his cut back doesn't find a teammate and Maribor survive.

18 minsWe're seeing a trademark performance from Bales as the winger beats Milec for what seems like the 20th time tonight. The cross is aimed towards Defoe but the striker can't head the ball towards goal.

19 minsCarroll is very relaxed on the ball for Spurs and he finds Defoe with a perfect pass but Maribor recover well to halt the attack.

21 minsHandanovic has to be alert to punch away Huddlestone's cross but Spurs keep the ball and Defoe then tests the keeper with a close range header. It feels like a goal could be coming.

22 minsGoal! Spurs 1-0 Maribor (Defoe)

23 minsThe goal had been coming and Spurs take the lead through Defoe. Bale predictably provides the assist with a superb cross that Defoe steers perfectly past Handanovic.

24 minsMaribor have barely had a sniff so far but Villas-Boas will be urging his players to keep their focus.

27 minsSign of a response from Maribor when Beric crosses the ball but Lloris is alert to the danger and collects the delivery.

29 minsMore brilliance from Bale as he turns Milec inside out to create some space but his effort is weak and Handanovic easily keeps hold of the ball.

33 minsCarroll begins yet another attack for Spurs but Bale's cross has a little too much on it and Defoe can't reach the ball at the back post. However, the Welsh winger does get his radar back moments later with a ball towards Adebayor but the striker head straight at the Maribor goalkeeper.

34 minsSmall spell of pressure for Maribor as they win two corners in quick succession but their lack of height is obvious as Dawson heads away the danger.

35 minsLennon switches wings to briefly give Milec a new opponent and the resulting cross is inches away from Walker's head at the far post.

38 minsSpurs looking very relaxed in possession and for such a young player, it is hugely impressive how Carroll is controlling this game from the centre of midfield.

40 minsBig warning for Spurs! Tavares breaks down the right and his cross looks destined Beric but Lloris palms the ball away.

41 minsSpurs 1-1 Maribor (Beric)

42 minsIt's an absolute nightmare for Naughton and Lloris. The full-back turns back towards goal and plays a blind pass that puts the French goalkeeper under pressure. Lloris tries to play his way out of trouble but Beric blocks and the ball trickles over the line.

43 minsIncredible, Spurs will not know how they are level. Lloris and Naughton must share the blame for that dismal goal.

45 minsIt's Maribor who finish the first half the better of the two sides metelj fires wide from 25 yards.

HTHalf-time: Spurs frustrations in Europe as Lloris and Naughton combine to gift Beric an equaliser. It's a big team talk for Villas-Boas.

HTAway from Spurs matters, Fabrice Muamba has just entered the field to an outstanding ovation. It's his first return to White Hart Lane since collapsing while playing for Bolton Wanderers during an FA Cup match in March. A very pleasing moment in North London.

HTBig 45 minutes of football coming up for Tottenham and with Lazio currently leading Panathinaikos 2-0, three points is a must for Villas-Boas and his team.

46 minsSpurs get the second half underway.

48 minsBale's back to his old tricks as he whips a ball across the face of the six yard box but Handanovic collects well.

49 minsSpurs 2-1 Maribor (Defoe)

51 minsVillas-Boas sees his side get things back on track at the start of this second half. Carroll adds an assist to his impressive performance by picking out Defoe, who drills the ball past a helpless Handanovic for his second of the night.

52 minsSpurs on top again now as bale's cross drops to Dawson but the central defender is adjudged to have handled the ball before seeing his shot saved.

53 minsBale's unbelievable pace allows him to beat three Maribor defenders but he tries one trick too many and eventually gives away a foul. Out of frustration, the winger then kicks the ball away and is shown a yellow card.

55 minsVertonghen gives away a free kick for a foul on Beric just outside the area. It's the Maribor forward who gets his head on the resulting set-piece but it's wayward and Spurs have a goal kick.

57 minsAdebayor is so close to finishing a superb move as he finds Bale on the edge of the box and when the winger scoops the ball over Maribor's defenders, the striker looks destined to score but he volleys wide of the target.

60 minsBale is down on the floor after seeing his progress to goal blocked by Racjcevic's elbow. It's not intentional from the defender but it has bloodied the Wales international's nose.

62 minsHuddlestone fires wide of the target from long range following the resumption of play.

64 minsDefoe is in disbelief when he looks destined to shoot at goal before Arghus challenges him. The referee decides it's not a free-kick but doesn't issue Defoe a yellow card either, poor decision.

67 minsMaribor launch a rare attack in this second period but Lennon tracks back well to make sure it's just a corner for the Slovenians. It's a poor set-piece and Lloris will have the goal kick.

69 minsCries of desperation from Spurs fans when Lloris takes his time to clear the ball but he does well, this time.

70 minsSubstitution for Maribor as Mezga comes on to replace Cvijanovic.

72 minsScary moment for the Spurs defence when Tavares finds space inside the area but Naughton is able to recover and dispossess the Brazilian.

74 minsMaribor have Handanovic to thank to keep the score at 2-1. Adebayor turns smartly inside the box but his powerful effort is clawed away.

76 minsCarroll picks up a card for a slightly mistimed challenge Mejac. Tavares is replaced by Komazec.

77 minsSpurs 3-1 Maribor (Defoe)

78 minsHuddlestone releases Bale with a superb first time ball and the winger then picks out Defoe perfectly with his cross, meaning the England striker has the simple task of tapping in from six yards to complete his hat-trick.

80 minsCarroll's inch-perfect pass finds Bale and he nearly picks out Defoe again but Maribor clear.

81 minsStanding ovation for Defoe as the three-goal striker jogs off to be replaced Clint Dempsey. From the restart, Lennon breaks into the box but he chooses to find a pass instead of shooting and the move collapses.

85 minsMaribor's minimal threat has died out but they remain stubborn at the back as Bale's umpteenth run of the night is halted. It's his last action of the night as Ryan Mason comes on for the final five minutes.

88 minsCarroll begins another Tottenham attack but the ball doesn't quite drop for Dempsey in the box until it's too late and his weak effort is easily collected by Handanovic.

89 minsMertelj comes off for Dodlek as Maribor make their final change of the night.

90 minsFour minutes stoppage time at White Hart Lane.

91 minsLennon may have been out shined by Bale tonight but he has been a threat and deserves his applause as he is replaced Iago falque.

94 minsSpurs in complete control in the final stages but they can't find an opening with the final whistle just moments away.

FTFull-time: Defoe's lethal finishing is the difference between these two sides as Spurs improve their chances of qualification with a comfortable victory.

FTThat's all from Sports Mole's coverage tonight. We hope you've enjoyed, goodnight.

Gareth Bale, Emmanuel Adebayor
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