Thursday November 22 2012
Lloris unbeatable, but Lazio through

Lazio forced Hugo Lloris into a series of saves, hit the woodwork and wasted numerous chances, but a 0-0 draw with Tottenham is enough to see them qualify. Panathinaikos beat Maribor 1-0, so the final qualifying spot is between the Greek side and Spurs.

The Biancocelesti were top of the group and would lock that spot with a victory, while Spurs were in second and just two points behind. Miroslav Klose was out injured, so Libor Kozak was out in front with support from Hernanes, but Antonio Candreva was rested. Tottenham were under pressure after poor results domestically and in Europe under manager Andre Villas-Boas.

There was an attack on 10 Tottenham fans in Rome last night, but Lazio issued a statement denying their supporters were behind it. Paul Gascoigne was in the stands of the Stadio Olimpico to watch his two former clubs facing off.

Gareth Bale thought he had scored after five minutes when he waltzed round Federico Marchetti to deposit into an empty net, but the flag had already been raised – incorrectly – for offside. Pedro Cavanda appeared to be keeping the Welshman level.

Senad Lulic fired over from the edge of the box and Kozak’s strike was charged down, but the move continued and Cristian Ledesma unleashed a dipping screamer from distance that Hugo Lloris flew to flap on to the woodwork.

Bale whipped a cross-shot that caught Marchetti off his line, but just as against Juventus, the goalkeeper readjusted mid-air to palm it out from under the bar.

Lazio also went very close on the counter with Kyle Walker failing to intercept a through ball for Kozak in the D, but he stumbled and the stuttering angled drive was deflected off target by Lloris’ foot.

Kozak again should’ve done better with a header wide from close range when ahead of Steven Caulker to meet Stefano Mauri’s cross, an unusually bad miss for a player so strong in the air.

Walker had a knock to the nose and was bleeding heavily, requiring treatment for several minutes while the bench tried to find a shirt with the right number.

Lloris had to sprint off his line and smother at Kozak’s feet when the striker sprung the offside trap, but managed to get his hands away from the ball as he slid outside the box.

Kozak’s worst miss came on the hour mark, when he dispossessed Sandro on the edge of the box to go one-on-one with Lloris only to incredibly hit the side-netting rather than roll across to his unmarked teammate.

Andre Villas-Boas introduced Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon in an attacking move. Lloris rushed off his line to clear from Mauri, then blocked from Kozak after good build-up play.

A Ledesma free kick curled just wide of the near post, as Lazio continued to dominate in terms of scoring opportunities. Antonio Candreva came on and his corner grazed the top of the crossbar.

Lloris was Man of the Match for Tottenham, as he performed another incredible reaction save to push a Michael Ciani header off the line from a corner on 84 minutes.

Sergio Floccari blasted wide in stoppages, as the Biancocelesti could not find a way through. It did not matter, as a point is enough to secure Lazio’s place in the Europa League knockouts.

Lazio 0-0 Tottenham

Lazio: Marchetti; Cavanda, Biava, Ciani, Radu; Ledesma; Mauri, Gonzalez, Hernanes (Ederson 69), Lulic (Candreva 79); Kozak (Floccari 79)

Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton; Sandro, Carroll (Dembele 77); G Sigurdsson (Lennon 64), Dempsey (Defoe 64), Bale; Adebayor

Ref: Fernando Teixeira (SPA)

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