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Friday 09 November 2012

UEFA Europa League: Defoe lauded after hat-trick seals Spurs victory

A round-up of the three Barclays Premier League clubs in the UEFA Europa League

  • Jermain Defoe celebrates with Kyle Walker completing his hat-trick against Maribor

  • Sammy Ameobi, who set up his brother for a goal, shoots for Newcastle

  • Joe Cole was one of the senior members of a young Liverpool side in Moscow

There were mixed fortunes for the three Barclays Premier League clubs in action in the UEFA Europa League last night.

Tottenham 3-1 Maribor

Andre Villas-Boas praised Jermain Defoe after the Tottenham Hotspur striker surpassed Teddy Sheringham on the club’s all-time goalscorers’ list with a hat-trick in their win over Maribor at White Hart Lane.

The striker's 22nd-minute opener was cancelled out when Hugo Lloris was robbed on the goal-line by Robert Beric just before half-time. But Defoe struck twice after the break, converting a second Gareth Bale assist after 77 minutes to complete his treble and go ahead of Sheringham, his boyhood idol.

"We are still a team that creates a lot of attacking opportunities with one striker or two"
Andre Villas-Boas

"He makes the most of the opportunities he gets," Villas-Boas said of Defoe. "Gareth was amazing for him and when you have so much quality in the link-up you have the possibility to score and he's a good goalscorer.

"To take over Teddy Sheringham means a lot to him."

Victory was Spurs' first in the competition and moved them above Maribor and into second place in Group J with two matches to play.

Defoe partnered Emmanuel Adebayor up front in a 4-4-2 formation for the first time under Villas-Boas, but the head coach was reluctant to commit to the formation for the trip to Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.

"It's difficult," Villas-Boas said. "We are still a team that creates a lot of attacking opportunities with one striker or two.

"It's a different scenario [against Manchester City]; hopefully we'll recover the boys."

Club Brugge 2-2 Newcastle United

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew predicted big things for Sammy Ameobi after he combined with brother Shola to spark a fightback after going two goals down to Club Brugge in Belgium.

The 20-year-old was a key figure as the Magpies claimed a point at the Jan Breydel Stadion and eased closer to qualification from Group D for the knockout stage.

"He has just got this way of getting out of corners"
Alan Pardew

His 43rd-minute pass was converted by his elder brother two minutes after Vurnon Anita had dragged the visitors back into the game with a long-range shot, and Pardew was delighted with his contribution.

"They were both good tonight,” Pardew said. “We had Ameobi to Ameobi - which is almost like a song - for the second goal, which was nice.

"It was a great little turn from Sammy. He has just got this way of getting out of corners that I have not seen many players being able to get out of. He wriggles out of situations.

"He still needs to tighten up a little bit on the tactical and intelligence sides of the game. He takes people on where perhaps he should pass. But he will learn that.

"He showed his talent tonight - and he marks at set-plays, which he needs to do. He's 6'5". He's not very good at it, but he's learning."

Newcastle are a point clear at the top of Group D and know victory over Maritimo at St James' Park on November 22 will ensure their progression.

Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0 Liverpool

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers defended his selection policy as a youthful side went down to Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow.

Liverpool, who left the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez at home, lost to Lacina Traore's goal seconds before half-time in Group A, but Rodgers felt the team, which contained nine Englishmen, a debutant in Conor Coady and had an average age of under 24, had performed well.

"They did really well and we just got punished for a mistake"
Brendan Rodgers

"They have been magnificent and they did really well and we just got punished for a mistake,” he said. "That led to us losing the game but I don't think it was anything to do with Suarez, Gerrard, Joe Allen, Martin Skrtel or Daniel Agger not being here.

"It was just one of those things. We will take it as a team, we are disappointed but there are so many positives from tonight.

"Some of the young players were terrific and we are disappointed not to have got something from it.”

The win sent Anzhi above Liverpool to the top of the group on seven points, one ahead of the Merseyside club. Liverpool are level with Young Boys whom they play next at Anfield.

Group A
Anji Makhachkala 1-0 Liverpool
Udinese 2-3 BSC Young Boys

Group D
Club Brugge 2-2 Newcastle United
Bordeaux 1-0 Maritimo

Group J
Lazio 3-0 Panathinaikos
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Maribor

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Key Points

  • Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur beat Maribor 3-1 at White Hart Lane
  • Newcastle had to fight from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Club Brugge in Belgium
  • A young Liverpool side went down 1-0 to Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow