Europa League: Poch grateful for win as Spurs close to last 32

 
Ross McLean
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Andros Townsend and Harry Kane both found the net as Spurs claimed victory in Greece
ASTERAS TRIPOLIS 1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2

TOTTENHAM boss Mauricio Pochettino was relieved to navigate the dangers posed by Greek side Asteras Tripolis last night and move to within touching distance of the Europa League knockout phase.

England Under-21 striker Harry Kane headed his eighth goal in as many games to double the Spurs lead after Andros Townsend’s penalty, with Jeronimo Barrales replying for the hosts with a late spot-kick of his own following Federico Fazio’s dismissal.

Pochettino’s side are level with Turkish outfit Besiktas at the summit of Group C and boast a four-point cushion over Asteras in third, with Tottenham able to seal their progress by dispatching Partizan at White Hart Lane in their next European fixture.

“We knew it would be difficult so it’s a good win,” said Pochettino. “We came to get three points and we got the result. That’s the most important thing and if we beat Partizan we are through.”

Everton, meanwhile, are in pole position to qualify from Group H after a commanding 3-0 victory over Lille at Goodison Park, with Leon Osman, Phil Jagielka and Steven Naismith on target. Celtic missed the chance to cement their place in the last 32 by drawing 1-1 with Romania’s Astra Giurgiu.