Lights out on Spurs’ hopes for top spot

Besiktas knocked Tottenham off top spot in Group C of the Europa League with a 1-0 win in Turkey last night in a match twice delayed by floodlight failure.

Lights out on Spurs’ hopes for top spot

First the lights went out at the Ataturk Olimpiyat Stadium and then on Tottenham’s hopes of topping the group as Besiktas eked out a hard-fought victory.

Both sides’ place in Monday’s last-32 draw was already secure ahead of a match which Mauricio Pochettino’s side approached knowing anything but defeat in Istanbul would see them top Group C.

“I’m disappointed because we dominated but in football you have to score when you’re on top,” said Pochettino.

“We need to stop thinking about the Europa League now and focus on the league and Capital One Cup, starting with Swansea on Sunday.”

A decent performance from a much-changed Spurs side was not enough to secure them the desired result, as a Cenk Tosun goal gave Besiktas a 1-0 win on a night in which Spurs had to overcome play being suspended for the second successive Europa League match.

Play was halted during last month’s clash with Partizan Belgrade after three separate individuals encroached onto the at White Hart Lane pitch.

It led to UEFA handing down a €15,000 (£11,870) fine just hours before this match, which lasted less than eight minutes before the floodlights failed at Besiktas’ temporary home.

Spurs responded strongly to the impromptu break at the Ataturk Olimpiyat Stadium, with Roberto Soldado having several chances, but their inability to find the net allowed Besiktas to go ahead in the 59th minute when Tosun turned home from close range.

After another break in play due to a floodlight failure in stoppage-time, the visitors’ 18-match unbeaten run in Europa League group matches came to an end.

In theory, it means Spurs will get a tougher draw at the last-32 juncture, as they will face a group winner or one of the best-performing Champions League dropouts — Olympiacos, Zenit, Sporting and Athletic Bilbao.

In Group D, Ronny Deila hit out at Celtic’s defensive frailties after they concluded their campaign with a 4-3 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb at the Stadion Maksimir.

The Hoops went into the game having already qualified for the last-32 and were without several first-choice players but another night of indecision at the back means they have lost 19 goals in 12 European ties this season.

The Scottish champions fell behind to Marko Pjaca’s strike after 14 minutes before goals from Kris Commons and Stefan Scepovic had the visitors ahead.

However, Pjaca levelled with a deflected shot and he claimed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half after the lead had been regained through Marcelo Brozovic, as Celtic rocked.

Dinamo defender Josip Pivaric put through his own goal with nine minutes remaining and — although Scepovic almost grabbed a late equaliser with a header — the Parkhead side were left with eight points from six games and knowing they need to improve against whoever they are paired with next week.

Deila said: “It was a poor performance. We were not 100% and there was a lack of intensity and aggression.

“It was disappointing that we weren’t up for the game.

“You should win when you score three goals away in Europe.”

Everton lost 1-0 at home to Russian side Krasnodar in Group H.

Already qualified, Everton manager Roberto Martinez gave a debut to 17-year-old Ryan Ledson in a youthful line-up. He also gave first senior starts to Conor McAleny and Tyias Browning. And while they acquitted themselves well, Ricardo Laborde’s 30th minute goal was enough for the Russians, who nevertheless failed to qualify for the knockout stages.

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox