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Tottenham 2-2 Spartak Moscow

By Ian Hughes

Tom Huddlestone
Huddlestone headed in the equaliser for Spurs to seal their progress

Tottenham reached the last 32 of the Uefa Cup after coming back from two goals down against Spartak Moscow to earn the point they needed.

Artem Dzjuba put Spartak ahead when he punished a defensive mix-up to slot in and doubled the lead with a cool finish after rounding Heurelho Gomes.

But Spurs hit back after the break and Luka Modric volleyed in Aaron Lennon's cross to put them back in the game.

Tom Huddlestone completed the comeback when he headed in Gareth Bale's cross.

Tottenham started the match in control of their own destiny and initially looked in no mood to surrender their position.

Despite missing the likes of Darren Bent, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jonathan Woodgate, Spurs played the ball around with confidence early on.

Spartak, who had to win to stand any chance of qualifying from the group, appeared a little daunted by their task.

But after a cautious first 10 minutes, the visitors began to open up and Vladislav Ryzhkov tested Gomes with a shot from the edge of the area.

Then a disastrous error from Spurs left-back Gilberto let in Spartak for the opening goal, as his hesitation allowed Dzjuba to nip in and poke the ball through the legs of stranded keeper Gomes.

606: DEBATE
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The Brazilian defender was playing for the first time under manager Harry Redknapp and it could be the last after he was taken off at half-time.

Buoyed by their early success, the visitors almost extended their lead when Vladislav Ryzhkov's shot was tipped round the post by Gomes.

Tottenham tried to get back into the game and Huddlestone fizzed in a shot from outside the area before Jamie O'Hara fired narrowly wide.

But they were caught by a sucker punch when Dzjuba breezed past Zokora, skipped past Gomes and coolly rolled the ball into the unattended goal.

It was no surprise when Lennon came on at half-time as Spurs were in desperate need of an injection of pace and creativity.

This was clearly a message to apply more pressure on their opponents and almost provided an instant impact as Spurs came close to a goal when Frazier Campbell's header was superbly saved.

Soon after Tottenham's improvement was rewarded when Lennon cut inside from the touchline, beat his man and delivered a low cross for Modric to volley home.

Seven minutes later they were level, when Bale delivered a cross from the left and Huddlestone thumped in a header.

It was a huge blow for Spartak - and came only seconds after Dzjuba missed a chance to make it 3-1 after Zokora's misplaced pass played him in.

However, once Spurs had restored parity they only looked like scoring again, rather than conceding.

Campbell had two chances to snatch a win but he lost control when bearing down on goal in the first instance and was then squeezed out as he tried to convert at the near post later on.

But the draw was enough to put Tottenham in the hat for Friday's draw, while Spartak crashed out of the competition.


Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp on Gilberto:
"Gilberto was quite happy to come off. There's not really a way back for him here.

"The boy doesn't want to play here. He's a nice guy but just doesn't feel confident playing here.

"We gave two bad goals away, we played that badly. It gave them a lift and they suddenly looked dangerous but we showed character to get back at them."


Tottenham: Gomes, Gunter, Zokora, Dawson, Gilberto (Lennon 46), Bentley, Huddlestone, O'Hara, Bale, Modric, Campbell.
Subs Not Used: Cesar, Assou-Ekotto, Bostock, Parrett, Dervite, Obika.

Goals: Modric 67, Huddlestone 74.

Spartak Moscow: Pletikosa, Parshivlyuk, Fathi, Jiranek, Rodriguez, Shishkin (Bazhenov 85), Kovalchuk, Ryzhkov (Grigorev 60), Maloyan (Zotov 73), Saenko, Dzjuba.
Subs Not Used: Dzanaev, Stranzl, Pavlenko, Prudnikov.

Goals: Dzjuba 23, 33.

Att: 28,906

Ref: Pedro Proenca (Portugal).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Luka Modric 7.48 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
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15 Dec 08 |  Tottenham


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