x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Spurs battle their way through

Tottenham Hotspur make it to the group stages of the Uefa Cup with a 1-1 away draw against Wisla Krakow.

Fraizer Campbell of Spurs, on top, challenges Arkadiusz Glowacki who scores an own goal.
Fraizer Campbell of Spurs, on top, challenges Arkadiusz Glowacki who scores an own goal.

KRAKOW // Tottenham battled their way through to the UEFA Cup group stage but failed to get the win they wanted to kick-start their season. Arkadiusz Glowacki's own goal just before the hour mark at Stadion Wisly extended Spurs' lead from the first leg, with Pawel Brozek's late strike setting up a tense finale. They may be bottom of the Premier League in their worst start for 53 years ? but head coach Juande Ramos is a UEFA Cup specialist and they clung onto their slender advantage. They now face Hull at the weekend looking for their first league win, before the draw for the group stage is made next Tuesday.

Ramos hardly gave the impression he wanted to sit on Spurs' 2-1 lead from the opening leg when he sent out striker Fraizer Campbell for his first start, with Darren Bent also in attack. It meant Didier Zokora was the only defensive-minded player in a midfield which welcomed back the playmaker Luka Modric following his recent knee trouble. Ramos also had Ledley King back in defence, with the skipper's presence more significant when the hosts gathered momentum at the end of each half. The Polish champions looked to Junior Diaz to exploit the right of Spurs' defence, where Chris Gunter had replaced Vedran Corluka.

There was a noisy atmosphere generated from the home fans, although with one side of the ground being renovated for Euro 2012, it was not as hostile as anticipated. A huge banner read "God Save The Queen" at one end, although Wisla were hardly making Spurs feel at home, and they should have been ahead in the 20th minute. Skipper Glowacki lofted the ball through to Mauro Cantoro, but the midfielder rushed his finish and failed to connect when there was plenty of time. Brozek got closer for the hosts just before the half-hour mark, drilling straight at Heurelho Gomes after Tomas Jirsak had laid the ball back to the edge of the penalty area.

It was Jirsak's final contribution of the tie, with Wojciech Lobodzinski coming on for Wisla's scorer at White Hart Lane in the first leg. Jonathan Woodgate, who picked up a needless booking for impeding the goalkeeper, and King were almost exposed before the interval. Radoslaw Sobolewski raced through, after being played in by Lobodzinski, but Gomes saved with his feet. The Brazilian goalkeeper also blocked from Diaz when a cross caused confusion.

The half-time whistle halted the pressure Wisla were exerting, with Campbell then helping Spurs take control. He had the first chance of the second half, lashing over from the edge of the area after Modric had wriggled inside from the left and played the striker into space. Cleber then had to race back to deny Campbell when Bent flicked on a header ? but the man on loan from Manchester United had a crucial role in Spurs' goal in the 58th minute. Looking to get on the end of Gareth Bale's cross from the left, Campbell put enough pressure on Glowacki for the Wisla skipper to put through his own net, with the ball trickling past Mariusz Pawelek and inside the far post. Zokora should have added another, which would have been his first for the club, when he carried the ball 50 yards but went wide with his finish. Brozek latched onto Diaz's pass and lobbed Gomes with seven minutes left ? then he should have sent the tie into extra-time but headed straight at Spurs' goalkeeper. Desperate defending saw Spurs through. *PA Sport