Europa League - Spurs beat Panathinaikos to reach last 32

Europa League, White Hart Lane - Tottenham 3 (Adebayor 28, Karnezis 76 og, Defoe 82) Panathinaikos (Zeca 54)

Tottenham reached the last 32 of the Europa League after a 3-1 win over Panathinaikos at White Hart Lane.

Spurs dominated the first half and made their pressure count in the 28th minute when Emmanuel Adebayor slotted in the opener.

The Greek side levelled through Zeca's header, but Tottenham re-established their lead when Clint Dempsey's thumping header came back off the bar and deflected into the net off goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis.

Jermain Defoe put the gloss on the win with a delicate chip to ensure Tottenham progress in second place behind Group J winners Lazio.

Andre Villas-Boas only needed his side to earn a point to reach the knockout phase of the Europa League, a tournament he famously won as Porto coach in 2011. And it is clear his enthusiasm for the competition has rubbed on his Spurs team, who dominated against Panathinaikos.

The Greek side, who travelled to a bitterly cold north London needing a victory to take second spot away from Spurs, banked on keeping their hosts at bay in the hope they could strike on the break, and their tactics appeared successful as they limited Spurs to nothing more than a flurry of first half chances.

But Dempsey, who has taken time to feel comfortable in his skin at White Hart Lane, has looked more like the player that inspired Fulham to victory over Juventus in this very competition in 2010, and his role in Spurs' opener was crucial. Receiving Tom Carroll's pass, the American played a perfectly-weighted through ball to Adebayor, who classily slotted the ball beyond Karnezis.

An off-balance Defoe could have added a second a few minutes later, but he blazed over, before the striker came even closer in the early stages of the second half, striking the inside of the post after Dempsey had played him in.

Spurs were made to regret those misses as Panathinaikos levelled out of the blue. Attacking Nikos Spyropoulos's cross, Zeca darted ahead of Kyle Naughton to send a header past the helpless Brad Freidel.

The goal energised the visitors and Toche should have made it 2-1 when he profited from a botched clearance by Naughton, but could only send his shot wide.

That proved costly as Spurs regained their composure and moved ahead again courtesy of Dempsey, whose thumping header from Kyle Walker's free-kick beat Karnezis but struck the underside of the bar. The subsequent ricochet off the keeper ensured it went down as an own goal.

With Panathinaikos' spirit finally broken, Defoe added a third with a delectable chip over the advancing Karnezis after Aaron Lennon had created the chance with an incisive run and through ball.

Lazio's 4-0 win over Maribor ensures the Italian side top the group but Villas-Boas will be delighted to have seen his side progress, as the Portuguese coach moves a step closer to getting his hands back on a trophy that is dear to his heart.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Clint Dempsey - Tottenham: After a slow start to his Spurs career, Dempsey was the star of the show. A key role in Tottenham's first two goals in a lively display behind the strikers.

PLAYER RATINGS

TOTTENHAM: Friedel 7, Walker 7, Caulker 7, Vertonghen 7, Naughton 5, Lennon 8, Sandro 7, Carroll 7, Dempsey 9, Adebayor 6, Defoe 7. Subs: Dembele 7, Sigurdsson N/A, Livermore N/A.

PANATHINAIKOS: Karnezis 7, Seitaridis 7, Triantafyllopoulos 6, Vyntra 6, Spyropoulos 6, Vitolo 7, Sow 6, Sissoko 6, Zeca 7, Mavrias 6, Toche 6. Subs: Christodoulopoulos 6, Petropoulos N/A, Fornaroli N/A.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS