TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 BESIKTAS 1
TOTTENHAM boss Mauricio Pochettino insists his side now have to beat Group C leaders Asteras Tripolis in their next Europa League clash after seeing their qualification hopes dented by a last-gasp Besiktas leveller at White Hart Lane last night.
Romania defender Vlad Chiriches endured shaky evening at the heart of the Tottenham defence and conceded a late penalty which was converted by former Chelsea hitman Demba Ba, cancelling out Harry Kane’s first-half opener.
Spurs are third in the group table after successive draws, level on points with Besiktas but two behind Asteras, although Pochettino remains optimistic his side can rein in the Greek surprise package.
“We need to look forward and we need to go to Asteras and get three points,” said Pochettino. “But am I confident we can get out of the group, why not?”
“The draw is disappointing because it would have been a big win but that’s football. We’re disappointed because the equaliser was in the last minute and we had chances for a second.”
Besiktas threatened immediately only for Olcay Sahan to side-foot wide from the edge of the penalty area, failing to capitalise on sloppy mistakes by Chiriches and then Federico Fazio, before Ba struck the Spurs crossbar.
The hosts had barely ventured into Besiktas territory when Kane took possession in the 27th minute and drilled a low left-footed shot across Turkish stopper Tolga Zengin from 25 yards.
Keeper Hugo Lloris, the only player to retain his place from Saturday’s north London derby, came to the Spurs rescue five minutes later, touching behind Sahan’s far post effort.
Lloris, who acrobatically tipped over from Sahah 10 minutes after the restart, then exchanged crucial saves with his opposite number, Zengin repelling Kane’s rifled drive before the Frenchman instinctively turned over Ba’s close-range effort.
With just a minute left, Chiriches compounded his initial mis-kick by handling in the area to gift Besiktas a late spot-kick which Ba coolly dispatched beyond Lloris for his fifth goal in six matches against Tottenham.