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UEFA Europa League

  • November 8, 2012
  • • 3:05 PM
  • • White Hart Lane, London
  • Referee: A. Munukka
  • • Attendance: 27089
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Tottenham 3-1 Maribor: Defoe hat trick heroics spare Lloris' blushes

With Andre Villas-Boas opting to go 4-4-2 for the first time this season, the striker made the most of a partner in attack by putting the Slovenians to the sword.

Jermain Defoe hit a hat trick on the day he was omitted from Roy Hodgson’s latest England squad to condemn Maribor to a 3-1 defeat against Tottenham in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Linking up well with Gareth Bale and the impressive Tom Carroll, the striker showed poise and his famed predatory instinct to convert three smart finishes, which were sandwiched around a mix-up between Kyle Naughton and Hugo Lloris to give the visitors a momentary glimmer of hope.

Emmanuel Adebayor was handed his first start of the season. The striker partnered Defoe up front, with Lloris, Michael Dawson, Naughton and youngster Tom Carroll the four other changes from the weekend loss to Wigan. Zeljko Filipovic replaced Dejan Mezga in midfield in the only change from the Maribor side which drew 1-1 in Slovenia two weeks ago.

A tame opening to proceedings was intermittently brought to life through the pace and guile of Gareth Bale down the left flank. The winger found space behind right back Martin Milec time and time again, first feeding Adebayor inside the area after a quite brilliant first touch and spin, before whipping another cross that the Togo international and Defoe failed to control under pressure.

The home side did not have to wait long to break the deadlock and, unsurprisingly, it came from the foot of the Welshman. With Maribor continually on the back foot, Milec gives Bale all the time in the world to pick out a cross after deciding against closing him down, and the winger duly found the onrushing Defoe inside the area to side-foot past Jasmin Handanovic.

Spurs didn’t let up after going in front, with Lennon and Walker on the right following Bale’s example and the former skipped past a scattered Maribor defense to find the right back, but Walker’s header was tame.

With the game heading towards halftime, and the Slovenians barely having ventured out of their own half, one mistake from the dominant home team and Maribor was level.

Lloris calmly cleared the ball to Naughton, only for the makeshift left back to return the favor and put the goalkeeper under pressure. Robert Beric was able to divert the ball goalwards and pull his side level as the former Lyon man attempted to round the striker.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first and Spurs found themselves back in front after just four minutes when the impressive Carroll threaded a fine through ball into the path of Defoe to convert clinically past Handanovic.

The home side should have doubled the advantage soon after when the dazzling Bale scooped a pass over a static Maribor defense to find Adebayor clear inside the area, only for the striker to send his half-volley the wrong side of the post from 12 yards.

The game’s two best players put matters beyond doubt with just over 10 minutes remaining when Bale was sent raring down the left wing by an inch-perfect through ball to send a low drive into the path of Defoe, who claimed his hat trick.

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