Asteras Tripolis 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Harry Kane continued his love affair with the Europa cup on Thursday, especially when his side play Asteras Tripolis, as he scored yet another goal to add to the hat-trick he had scored against them in their last match. Spurs had to hang on in the second half though to ultimately gain a 2-1 victory, as their hosts came out strongly after being two goals behind before the break and the Londoners were reduced to ten men by the end.

On a bobbly pitch in Greece where a number of players found it tricky to pass and control the ball easily, Spurs had looked in command in the first half as they followed manager Mauricio Pochettino's preferred style of pressing their opponents.

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Andros Townsend in particular seemed to be back to his 'swaggering' best again, especially when working out wide left to stretch the home team's defence. It was he who scored the penalty on 36 minutes to put his side ahead, after being brought down in the box by Khalifa Papa Sankare. Six minutes later he became provider for Kane with a well flighted cross from the left byline, that the under 21 international leapt well for and powered his header into the net. It was Kane's eighth goal in as many games for his club and he must be pressing hard for a starting spot (rather than Emmanuel Adebayor) at the weekend in the domestic league.

Kane had time to hit the crossbar before the half was over when he should have scored , but the linesman spared his blushes as he was adjudged to have strayed offside.

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The Greek side seemed determined to retain their unbeaten home European record (of seven matches) when play resumed in the second period and created a number of good chances. Tasos Tsokanis got the better of Eric Dier but saw his shot go agonisingly wide of reserve keeper Michael Vorm's post. Striker Facundo Parra was equally wasteful as he found good opportunities to bring his side back into the tie. Pablo Mazza at least found the target with a half-volley for them, but his shot rebounded off the post to safety.

It seemed that Spurs had ridden out the storm, but then with only a few minutes remaining of normal time a long ball over the top undid them and left Jeronimo Barrales bearing down on Vorm. Federico Fazio raced back and seemed to stumble clumsily into the forward (replays suggested he had pushed him in the back). The referee gave a straight red card to the defender and Barrales converted the resultant spot kick. With four minutes injury time signalled, Spurs nervily endured a late spell of renewed pressure but held on.

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The victory leaves Tottenham level on points at the top of the group with Besiktas on eight points and an identical goal difference. Asteras still have a slim chance of qualifying but would need to win both games, while Partizan Belgrade can not now qualify after losing to Besiktas 2-1 in the other game in the group on Thursday. Two goals for Demba Ba in the second-half proving decisive for the home team. #Football