Nov 7, 2013 at 8.05pm UK at ​White Hart Lane
SpursTottenham Hotspur
2-1
Sheriff Tiraspol
Lamela (60'), Defoe (67')
Eriksen (52')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Isa (72')

Live Commentary: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Sheriff Tiraspol - as it happened

Erik Lamela of Spurs is closed down by Luvannor Henrique and Kobi Moyal of FC Sheriff during the UEFA Europa League Group K match on November 7, 2013
© Getty Images
Relive Tottenham's 2-1 win over Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League this evening, a match that saw the hosts qualify from their group with a record for Jermain Defoe along the way.

Tottenham Hotspur booked their place in the next round of the Europa League with two games to spare courtesy of a 2-1 win over Sheriff Tiraspol this evening.

Erik Lamela broke the deadlock with an opportunistic finish in the second half before dancing into the box to win a penalty for the hosts six minutes later.

Jermain Defoe stepped up and fired the spot kick into the top scorer to become the club's highest ever goalscorer in European football, overtaking Martin Chivers's long-standing tally of 22.

Ismail Isa pulled a goal back for the visitors within minutes when he squeezed a rebound in from a tight angle to become the first player to score past Spurs in Europe this season.

You can read how a celebratory night at White Hart Lane unfolded with Sports Mole's live minute-by-minute coverage below.


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7.30pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's Europa League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sheriff Tiraspol as the hosts look to seal their progress into the knockout rounds with two games to spare.

7.32pmWe'll start by looking at Spurs tonight, and it is hard to imagine how Andre Villas-Boas's side could have made a more impressive start to their Europa League campaign. They have been perfect in the competition so far, winning all five matches, including a qualifier, without conceding a single goal. They seem to be cruising towards the knockout rounds, and a win tonight would seal that for the hosts.

7.34pmSpurs are one of five teams with a 100% record in the Europa League group stages this season, but the other four haven't matched Tottenham's pure dominance. They are by the far the group's top scorers, with their tally of seven being streets ahead of the other three teams, who have only managed one apiece. They are expected to add to that tally tonight, while it would also be a surprise to see them lose their proud clean sheet record - their best European run in that sense since the 1971-72 season, when they won the UEFA Cup.

7.36pmSpurs have quite a formidable home record in this competition of late having won six and drawn two of their last eight European matches at White Hart Lane. They have only been beaten twice in their last 22 home games in Europe and, including away matches, are unbeaten in normal time in their last 18 Europa League games.

7.38pmIt isn't just European football that has seen the best of Spurs at White Hart Lane. They have only lost one of their eight matches here this season, and that can be considered something of an anomaly as West Ham United triumphed 3-0 out of the blue. They have kept clean sheets in five of those games too, which enhances the point that this Tottenham side is built upon a sturdy defence.

7.40pmSpurs are currently on course for becoming the first side to go through a Europa League group stage without conceding a goal, and that shows just how serious they take this competition. As a club, they have a proud history in it having won the UEFA Cup twice, while Andre Villas-Boas has also won it in its current format with Porto in 2011.

7.42pmTottenham's opponents tonight are the undoubted kings of Moldovan football, but they have struggled to make the step up to the Europa League so far. They are taking part in their third group stage of the competition and, despite not being whipping boys having picked up five points in both of their previous campaigns, they are still yet to get past the first phase.

7.44pmThey are currently third in the group with two points from the opening three games, and a shock win tonight could move them into second, depending on the result between Anzhi and Tromso. Sheriff showed enough in the match against Tottenham a fortnight ago that they are no pushovers, but tonight is likely to be a step too far for them.

7.46pmHaving said that, the 2-0 loss to Spurs in Moldova is the only time that they have been beaten in their last 17 matches - a run that stretches back to the start of August. A run that goes even further back than that for Sheriff is their unbeaten streak away from home, where they haven't lost in their last eight matches.

7.48pmHowever, when it comes to the Europa League, it is a different matter. They have only won one of their last 13 matches in this competition and just three of their 23 ever in it. They have never won an away game in either the Europa League or the UEFA Cup, with the current run of three successive draws on their travels being about as good as it has got for them.

7.50pmTEAM NEWS: The team news is in for both sides, and the biggest thing to note is the absence of Hugo Lloris. Whether or not he would have been rested even without the debate over his head injury at the weekend is unknown, but Brad Friedel starts between the sticks for Spurs. Jermain Defoe also starts up front as he goes in search for his 23rd European goal for the club, a tally that would see him surpass Martin Chivers as Tottenham's highest ever European scorer. Full team news on the way.

7.52pmTOTTENHAM STARTING XI: Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Naughton; Capoue, Sigurdsson, Eriksen, Lamela, Dembele; Defoe

7.52pmSHERIFF STARTING XI: Tomic, Metoua, Paye, Samardzic, Ricardinho, Balima, Cadu, Moyal, Stanojevic, Luvannor, Isa

7.54pmSheriff's main dangerman will be Luvannor, who was impressive in the first match between these two sides. Still, there shouldn't be too much in the visitors' side to worry what is a strong Tottenham lineup despite a number of changes.

7.56pmThe likes of Eriksen and Lamela have made solid starts to their Tottenham careers so far, but I think it is safe to say that they haven't blown many people away yet. Of course, it takes time to settle down into English football, but they are likely to see a lot of the ball tonight and it could be a good chance to show Villas-Boas why they should be starting on a more regular basis.

7.58pmAll eyes will be on Jermain Defoe tonight, though. The striker has always been a great goalscorer, and such has been his form in this competition so far this season that it would be a surprise if he didn't break Martin Chivers's record tonight. He is the joint-top scorer in the Europa League this season with four, but there is a much more historic landmark up for grabs tonight.

8pmPREDICTION: We're nearing kickoff at White Hart Lane, which means that it is time for a match prediction! I can't see anything other than a Spurs win tonight, and a comfortable one at that. Sheriff surprised me with how well they performed in Moldova two weeks ago, but Spurs are a class apart from them and could get a few goals to their name. I'm going to plump for a 4-0 home win.

8.02pmOne slight banana skin for Spurs tonight might come in the fact that this is their sixth match in a little over a fortnight. That could mean that fatigue becomes an issue for the hosts, although they have such strength in depth that they should be able to deal with that fairly comfortably.

8.04pmSpurs have only ever welcomed Moldovan opposition to White Hart Lane once before. That occasion came in 1999 when Leonhardsen, Perry and Sherwood scored in a 3-0 win for Spurs over Zimbru in the UEFA Cup.

8.05pmInterestingly, with so much controversy over the goalkeeping situation at Spurs this week, the hosts have not named a keeper on the bench tonight. Let's hope nothing untoward happens to Friedel tonight, then.

1 minKICKOFF: Here we go then. Sheriff get us underway in a great atmosphere in North London as they look to pull off what would surely be the greatest result in their history.

3 minBright start from the visitors, who don't look like they have come here just to park the bus tonight. Spurs soon regain control of the ball and Lamela embarks on a promising run that eventually ends when he leaves the ball behind on the edge of the box.

5 minSamardzic puts a heavy tackle in on Lamela right on the edge of the box, but the referee waves away claims for a free kick. It was tough to see exactly who got the ball out of the two of them, but it looked like a messy one from the visiting defender.

7 minSAVE! Really good play from Dembele as he bursts away from two defenders before drilling a well-struck shot towards the near post. Tomic gets down well to make a very good save, however, turning the ball behind for a corner. That is a first warning shot for the visitors.

9 minThe home fans are certainly making themselves heard at the moment, which will please Andre Villas-Boas after questions were raised about the noise levels in White Hart Lane.

10 minLamela plays a short pass to Capoue, who finds himself in space 25 yards from goal. He flashes a strike towards the far post, but his aim is slightly off as it bounces a couple of yards wide.

12 minI have said this before about Lamela, but it strikes me every time I see him play - he is solely left footed. I still don't think I have seen him use his right foot, even for the slightest touch, since he joined Spurs. However good that left foot is, it must become a bit predictable if you always use it.

14 minSheriff are looking to play positive football whenever they get the chance, but Spurs aren't letting them at the moment. The hosts are dominating possession now and the visitors are struggling to hold onto the ball for any significant length of time.

16 minSpurs make a quick break with Lamela, Eriksen and Sigurdsson all involved. The move eventually breaks down when the latter tried a reverse pass towards Defoe that was well read by the defender.

18 minThere is plenty of passing and probing from Spurs at the moment as they patiently knock the ball about looking for an opening. It just isn't happening for them in the final third at the moment, though.

19 minSpurs have a free kick in a promising position here after Lamela was felled to the right of the box. It is probably better suited for a cross, but an inswinger towards the far post may also be an option here.

20 minThat is a really disappointing delivery from Lamela as a weak cross is cleared at the front post by one of the smallest men on the pitch. That was a real chance to fizz it in, but he didn't take it.

21 minPENALTY SHOUT! Lamela is really unlucky not to get a penalty there. The winger beats Paye all ends up and the full-back makes a poor challenge that is certainly worthy of a spot kick. However, the summer signing stumbles on and eventually goes to ground under a second challenge that isn't worthy of a penalty, so the referee waves it away. He was almost penalised for trying to stay on his feet there.

23 minYou sense that Spurs aren't far away from breaking through this Sheriff defence but, at the moment, they are holding nice and firm. The visitors rode their luck with that penalty incident but, other than that, Spurs only have a couple of shots from outside the area to show for their dominance.

25 minOFF THE POST! Sheriff come within inches of breaking the deadlock against the run of play. It was a lightning-quick break led by Ricardinho, who poked the ball through to Isa. The Bulgarian striker took a touch inside the box before seeing his shot deflect off the toe of Kaboul and onto the post. That was a warning shot for Spurs.

27 minCHANCE! Poor from Eriksen as he carelessly gives the ball away in a dangerous position with a really bad square pass. He picks out Ricardinho, who then flashes a shot just past the post when he should have perhaps done better. That's two good chances in two minutes for the visitors.

29 minGreat defending from Samardzic as he makes a very important block. The visitors failed to deal with Kyle Walker's delivery into the box, only clearing it as far as Lamela on the edge of the box. The winger fires it low and hard towards the bottom corner, but Samardzic throws himself in the way.

31 minMore patient build-up play from Spurs eventually ends with an attempted shot from Defoe. Again it was good defending from the visitors, however, as the striker was closed down quickly and his shot blocked.

33 minWalker whips a dangerous ball towards the back post having been teed up by Lamela. Sigurdsson is waiting for it, but Balima gets the slightest touch to take it away from the waiting Tottenham man. Still the defence holds firm.

34 minSigurdsson tries to slip a clever return pass into the box for either Defoe or Lamela to latch on to. For once, Defoe is slightly flat-footed which allows the keeper to come out and collect.

36 minLamela shows good feet to go past his man on the outside for the first time today - although he is still only using his left foot. He is hacked down to give Spurs a free kick in a good position, but it is taken quickly and Walker's ball into the box is a waste.

37 minSheriff do seem keen to break quickly and in numbers whenever they get a chance. Spurs have looked stretched at the back a couple of times, and the latest occasion sees Luvannor play a good low ball into the box. Isa had anticipated a cross towards the back post but if he had attacked the front there then he would've had a great chance.

39 minMore good defending from the visitors as Metoua ends a fluid Spurs move with an important interception. Eriksen played Walker in down the right and the full-back's cross looked destined for Sigurdsson in space until the block.

41 minSpurs have not created enough chances for their level of dominance in this match, but a lot of the praise for that should go to the Sheriff defence, who have simply stopped the hosts playing their usual game. Defoe has barely been involved in this one so far.

43 minLamela does well to play a reverse pass to Naughton down the left flank, but the full-back cuts back instead of putting the ball in first time. That allows the defence to get back in position and they comfortably clear the eventual cross when it does come in.

45 minThere will be just the one minute of added time at the end of the first half.

45 minSigurdsson picks the ball up on the right and sends a cross towards the near post, where he knows Defoe will be waiting. It takes a deflection on the way through, which actually helps Defoe, but he still can't get anything on it due to some good pressure from Metoua.

45+1 minHALF-TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Sheriff Tiraspol

8.55pmThings aren't quite going to plan for Tottenham at the moment. They dominated that first half but the amount of chances created does not reflect that. They simply haven't been able to breach a stubborn Sheriff defence, with Tomic having a quiet game with the exception of an early save to deny Dembele.

8.57pmWith the players on show today, Spurs really shouldn't have a problem with creativity. However, they just don't seem to have an answer for Sheriff's defensive work at the moment. Defoe had a sniff of a chance right at the end of the half but, other than that, he hasn't had any joy whatsoever. It is clear that Spurs are the better side here, but the onus is most certainly on them to find a way through.

8.59pmDespite having their backs against the wall for much of the half, Sheriff have actually had the best two chances of the game so far. Isa almost broke the deadlock when his deflected strike hit the post and Ricardinho flashed a shot just wide moments later having been gifted the ball by Eriksen.

9.01pmWhat the visitors have done well is break quickly when they regain possession. The front three of Luvannor, Isa and Ricardinho get themselves behind the ball to make things extra crowded in the middle when Spurs have the ball but, as soon as Sheriff are in possession, they immediately look to break upfield.

9.03pmSpurs can feel hard done by that they weren't given a penalty in the first half when Lamela was brought down in the area. Ironically, in a week where Ashley Young has once again been criticised for going down too easily, there is an argument that Lamela should have gone down earlier to win a spot kick. It was certainly a foul but because he tried to stay on his feet before eventually going down under the second, fair challenge, the referee didn't award the penalty.

9.05pmSpurs should still be confident of coming away from this match with all three points, but it doesn't look as straightforward a task now as it did before kickoff. The visitors have challenged the hosts to come up with something that will beat them, and there were no such signs of that in the opening 45 minutes.

9.07pmThe teams are back out for the second half now, and I just wonder whether Villas-Boas may consider bringing on the likes of Roberto Soldado soon as they continue to look for a breakthrough.

46 minKICKOFF: Spurs get us back underway as they look to put that frustrating first half behind them. No changes for either side at the break.

48 minSigurdsson whips a decent ball into the box, but once again Metoua is there to head it away before it can interest Defoe. He has been a rock at the back so far tonight.

49 minEriksen makes a good run behind the defence and just about catches the ball before it runs out for a goal kick. Once again, though, he can't get his cross past Metoua, who clears it away. Defoe needs to start attacking the near post a bit more in such situations if he is going to get any joy from them tonight.

51 minSheriff have made a decent start to this half again, matching Spurs in the midfield area in the last few minutes. It is hard to see why they weren't able to win their opening two group games on the basis of their two performances against Spurs.

53 minYELLOW CARD! Eriksen becomes the first player in the book tonight for a cynical foul. He has no complaints as the ref shows him the yellow card.

54 minNice play from Luvannor as he turns on the ball before curling an effort towards goal. He was just falling backwards as he got his shot away which meant that he couldn't get enough power on it to trouble Friedel, who gathered with ease.

56 minSAVE! What an effort that is from Eriksen. There is perhaps a little frustration behind the hit as he hammers it towards the top corner from 30 yards out, forcing a fine fingertip save from Tomic. That is as close as Spurs have come all night, superb strike.

58 minTOTTENHAM SUB: The first change of the evening sees Capoue make way to be replaced by Paulinho. He should give them more attacking thrust from deep in midfield than Capoue has done.

59 minCommanding goalkeeping from Friedel as he gets a good punch to a dangerous corner from Cadu. He needed to get something on that too as there were plenty of yellow shirts in close attendance.

60 minGOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Sheriff (Erik Lamela)

60 minSpurs finally have the breakthrough, although it comes via a piece of good luck. Lamela gave the ball to Eriksen on the edge of the box before looking for the return pass in the area. The Dane's pass is actually meant for Paulinho, but a deflection takes it into the path of Lamela, who sweeps it past the keeper at the near post for his first Tottenham goal.

62 minSuddenly Sheriff need to come out and attack in this match now, which should make for an exciting final half an hour. The visitors have shown over the two matches against Tottenham that they can be dangerous in the final third, but with more space opening in their defence there is a danger that the floodgates could open for Spurs.

64 minSamardzic makes an important block from a typical Defoe snapshot from the edge of the box. That looked like it was heading on target until the Sheriff defender got his body in the way.

66 minPENALTY TO TOTTENHAM!

67 minGOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Sheriff (Jermain Defoe)

67 minThere is the record for Defoe! He becomes the highest ever Tottenham goalscorer in European competitions with powerful penalty, driven into the top corner. It was brilliant work from Lamela to win the spot kick as he danced past a number of players before being taken out by Paye, and Defoe was never going to miss from 12 yards. That should be game over now.

69 minTOTTENHAM SUB: Sigurdsson's evening is over as he makes way for the promising Harry Kane, who got a goal against Hull in the League Cup last week.

72 minGOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Sheriff (Ismail Isa)

72 minTottenham finally concede in Europe this season! Friedel does well to get to the initial shot after it took a deflection on the way through that made it harder for the 42-year-old. However, he can't push it away from danger and Isa is waiting to squeeze the rebound in from a tight angle. Perhaps this isn't game over yet?

74 minSHERIFF SUB: The visitors make a change as they look to push on for an equaliser here, replacing Cadu with Alexandr Pascenco.

76 minSuddenly Spurs will be a little nervy again now. They had grown in confidence since opening the scoring, but Isa's goal, which came out of nothing really, has given the visitors a fighting chance of getting back into this one.

77 minCHANCE! Lovely ball in from Eriksen as he keeps it low, looking for the late run of Paulinho. He does pick out the Brazilian, but Paulinho can't keep his volley down on the run.

78 minPaulinho has another sight of goal, this time going for an acrobatic bicycle kick from Walker's deflected cross. He doesn't quite catch hold of it, however, shinning it over the bar.

80 minThat Sheriff goal took some of the gloss off Defoe breaking the record, but it shouldn't be underestimated how impressive a landmark that is for the striker. Martin Chivers's 22-goal tally had stood for 39 years until Defoe's powerful penalty set a new benchmark, and he could still add plenty more to his tally in the coming years.

81 minTOTTENHAM SUB: Eriksen struggled in the first half but has been able to find more space and pull more strings in this second half. He will play no further part, however, as he is replaced by Lewis Holtby.

83 minSpurs have done well to quell any sort of resurgence from Sheriff after that Isa goal. The hosts ensured that they dominated the ball immediately after it and they have continued that ever since. They are still controlling the tempo of the match and aren't letting Sheriff get their tails up whatsoever.

85 minUPDATE: In the group's other game it remains goalless between Anzhi Makhachkala and Tromso, which would be good news for Sheriff if it stays that way.

87 minSHERIFF SUB: This is an interesting change from the visitors as Luvannor makes way for Jhulliam, who has been missing with injury for a while but is regarded as their best goalscorer. Can he make a dramatic return to the side in these final minutes?

89 minCHANCE! Big chance for Spurs to seal the win as Tomic fails to hold on to a low strike from Holtby. Kane is on his toes and quick to follow up as any good striker is, but the keeper makes a better second save to deny the youngster.

90 minThere will be three minutes of added time at the end of this match and, unless we have some late drama, Spurs are three minutes away from qualification from Group K with two games to spare.

90+2 minUPDATE: Anzhi have scored a late, late winner against Tromso, which is very bad news for Sheriff.

90+3 minThe visitors get a late free kick in a good position and up comes the keeper for it. As always in that situation, the ball seems drawn to the keeper, but he completely misses the ball with an attempted volley, much to the delight of the home fans.

90+3 minFULL-TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Sheriff Tiraspol

9.58pmNot a perfect display from Spurs but they did what they had to do, securing qualification for the Europa League knockout rounds with a patient 2-1 win over Sheriff Tiraspol. Lamela was the star of the show for the hosts, but the biggest story was provided by Defoe, who became the club's all-time leading scoring in Europe with his 23rd goal.

10pmRight, that is all we have time for tonight! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for an ultimately successful night of European football at White Hart Lane, although Tottenham had to fight for the win. They progress from Group K with two games to spare thanks to a 2-1 win over Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol. Stick around for our match report and reaction, and also be sure to check back in for plenty more live football at the weekend. Until then, though, it is goodbye from me!

Tottenham's Jermain Defoe scores the opening goal against Anji Makhachkala during their Europa League group match on October 3, 2013
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