Match Analysis: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 NK Maribor

Match Analysis: Spurs 3-1 Maribor
© PA Photos
Sports Mole takes a closer look at the key factors in Tottenham Hotspur's 3-1 Europa League victory over NK Maribor at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur welcomed NK Maribor to White Hart Lane on Thursday evening knowing that a win was vital if they were to have the best chance of qualifying for the Europa League knockout stages.

Andre Villas-Boas's team start brightly and took the lead through Jermain Defoe but a mistake from Hugo Lloris allowed the Slovenian club to level the scores just before the break.

However, Defoe was able to complete his hat-trick in the second half as Spurs moved ahead of Maribor in Group J with a victory.

Below, Sports Mole takes a closer look at where the game was won and lost.

Match statistics:

Spurs:
Shots 12
On target 9
Possession 67%
Corners 9
Fouls 8

Maribor:
Shots 8
On target 2
Possession 33%
Corners 3
Fouls 8

Was the result fair?

Spurs certainly deserved the victory on the night, with Maribor offering very little in attack. The home side's forward players were a constant threat and there could have been plenty more goals for the men in white.

Tottenham's performance

Villas-Boas will be happy with how his players responded to his decision to play a 4-4-2 formation. The midfield looked in control throughout the 90 minutes and Tom Carroll impressed with his range of passing in a rare start alongside Tom Huddlestone. The lack of concentration that allowed Maribor to score before the break will have frustrated Villas-Boas but overall, it was a good display.

Maribor's performance

In truth, Maribor barely had a sniff in the contest. The Slovenians looked much more of a threat in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago and were gifted their goal just before the break. Robert Beric and Marcos Tavares, Maribor's key players two weeks ago, were easily dealt with by Tottenham's defence on a miserable night for the visitors.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Jermain Defoe: It's difficult to not give this award to a player who scores a hat-trick in a victory for his side. The England international was a constant threat to Maribor with his movement and despite a superb display from Gareth Bale, it will be Defoe who dominates the headlines.

Referee's performance

Antti Munukka will certainly have more difficult nights in the middle and he was rarely challenged during a relatively easy game in North London. The 30-year-old's display will not be scrutinised in tomorrow's newspapers.

What next?

Spurs: Tottenham's main concern will once again be their domestic ambitions as they prepare to face Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.

Maribor: The Slovenians return to Europa League action in two weeks with a crucial trip to Greece to face Panithinaikos.

Jermain Defoe
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