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.
On target 9
On target 2
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.