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Tottenham Hostpur rue disallowed goals in 0-0 draw with Lazio in Europa League
Tottenham Hotspur had three goals disallowed as their opening Europa League game against Lazio ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane.
Andre Villas Boas was left furious with the officials as they ruled out a first-half Clint Dempsey header and second-half strikes from Jermain Defoe and Steven Caulker.
The Portuguese manager named a strong starting line-up with only three changes from Sunday’s game against Reading and the selection paid off as his side dominated their Italian opponents.
Home debutant Clint Dempsey had the ball in the back of the net on 21 minutes but his diving header was ruled offside.
Replays suggested it was a harsh decision from the linesman, who flagged as the American nodded Gareth Bale’s aerial through ball into the bottom corner.
Spurs were again denied an opener by the linesman’s flag on 58 minutes, this time from the referee’s assistant.
Gareth Bale was flagged before he beat the goalkeeper and crossed for Jermain Defoe to slot into the empty net.
Steven Caulker became the third Spurs player to be denied a goal by the officials after he headed in Bale’s corner on 70 minutes, only for the referee to harshly penalise him for climbing on the defender.
The third decision left Villas Boas fuming, though in truth his side could have scored more such was their domination.
Sandro should have headed home on 64 minutes but he somehow skewed wide at the far post from a Gareth Bale corner.
It was all Tottenham when Defoe made a break down the right on 51 minutes before playing in Aaron Lennon, who looked to be through on goal.
The winger was bundled over but got to his feet to latch on to the ball on the goal line, before Lazio’s defence somehow scrambled wide as Lennon tried to poke home.
Hugo Lloris, on his Spurs debut, barely touched the ball in the opening half but he was nearly beaten when Alvaro Gonzalez’s dipping volley hammered the underside of the bar on 42 minutes.
Despite Spurs dominating possession in the opening half, it was the Italians who carved out the best chance of the early stages when the ball flashed across the Tottenham six-yard box, just in front of German centre forward Miroslav Klose.
The home side failed to capitalise on their first-half domination and Bale wasted two promising free-kicks from 25-yards when he hammered into the wall on both occasions.
Aaron Lennon proved a constant menace on the right flank and he came close to an assist when he was played in behind the Lazio defence on 19 minutes.
Despite mis-timing his initial cross, the ball fell back to the England winger, whose lofted second ball was met by the head of Bale, forcing Lazio keeper Federico Marchetti to tip over the bar.
Although Villas Boas will no doubt be satisfied with a point against a strong Lazio team, he will be disappointed his side failed to capitalise on such a superior performance.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton, Sandro, Dembele, Lennon (Townsend, 81), Dempsey (Sigurdsson, 76), Bale, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Huddlestone, Gallas, Dawson, Mason.
Lazio: Marchetti, Lulic, Dias, Biava, Cavanda, Ledesma, Onazi (Zarate, 80), Gonzalez, Hernanes, Mauri, Klose. Subs: Bizzarri, Ciani, Scaloni, Ederson, Kozak, Floccari.
Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania).