PAV THAT | Russian’s rocket sinks Rubin

TOTTENHAM (1) vs RUBIN KAZAN (0)

TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp hailed the contribution of striker Roman Pavlyuchenko after a thunderous free-kick helped sink his compatriots to put Spurs within touching distance of the Europa League knockout stages.

The Russian has yet to start a Premier League match this season, and has only featured twice from the bench, but he staked a significant claim for a more prominent role with the first-half goal which put Tottenham on top of Group A. “He’s a fantastic striker of the ball," said Redknapp. “He’s got two great feet. Technically he’s a top, top player – there was never any doubt about that. It was good to see him score.”

Redknapp fielded a host of fringe players in his starting line-up, and was more than content with the performance of his young side.

He said: “They’re a good side. They went to Barcelona and won [in 2009]. They’re not a bad outfit. I think six or seven of them were in that team.

“I thought it was a good performance. We had to hang on a little at the end but I was pleased with us.”

Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, on his frist home appearance of the season, made several impressive contributions, particularly in the second-half when the Russian side were in the ascendancy, but Pavlyuchenko stole the show with a 33rd minute effort which fizzed past the wall and crashed in via the underside of the crossbar.