Tottenham Hotspur started their Europa League campaign with a goalless draw after failing to force a breakthrough against a stubborn Lazio side.

Clint Dempsey had a first-half header ruled out in a marginal offside decision, while the visitors struck the bar through Alvaro Gonzalez's volley.

Aaron Lennon and Dempsey failed to convert a messy goalmouth scramble.

And Spurs were left frustrated when Steven Caulker's late header found the net but was disallowed for pushing.

The Petkovic connection

Lazio boss Vladimir Petkovic will be familiar to Tottenham fans. He led Swiss side Young Boys to a 3-2 first-leg win over Spurs in the 2010-11 Champions League play-offs. The joy was short lived as Spurs won the return leg 4-0

In the first ever meeting of these sides the pre-match talk was dominated by their mutual links to Paul Gascoigne, who played for both clubs.

But, despite numerous chances, the game lacked the moment of magic the former England midfielder once produced with such frequency.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas had suggested his team would hold the Europa League in a higher regard than last season when, under Harry Redknapp, they failed to progress past the group stage.

And the Portuguese's line-up reflected that, with only three changes made to the team that beat Reading 3-1 in the Premier League at the weekend.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was handed his first start since joining from Lyon and would have been relieved to watch Senad Lulic's low cross elude Miroslav Klose by inches, when the slightest of touches would have given the visitors an early lead.

Tottenham responded but Lennon inexplicably opted to cross after Jermain Defoe's neat through ball looked to have put him in on goal.

Bale, having switched flanks with Lennon, then thought he had provided Dempsey with the opener.

Fans honour Gazza

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne, who played for both sides, turned down the opportunity to attend the game for "personal reasons".

Both sets of fans could be heard chanting his name in the first half.

Lazio hope he can watch November's return fixture at the Stadio Olimpico.

The American, making his full Spurs debut, nodded in Bale's cross but the effort was ruled out in the tightest of offside calls.

Lazio, living up to the Italian reputation for defensive stubbornness, rode out a period of Spurs pressure and created legitimate chances on the counter.

Klose should have provided a more telling cross when he picked up Dembele's wayward pass, and the German international later uncharacteristically air-kicked at an opportunity on the edge of the Spurs box.

But the Rome side's finest moment came shortly before the break when Gonzalez latched onto Jan Vertonghen's headed clearance and struck a superb 20-yard volley against Lloris's crossbar.

Lennon and Dempsey were both denied at the start of a more open second half, with Lulic and keeper Federico Marchetti somehow managing to scramble the ball away as the Spurs pair failed to convert efforts from point-blank range.

Defoe had the ball in the net but Bale, who provided the cross, was correctly ruled offside.

And Villas-Boas made his frustration with the officials clear when Caulker, who put in a fine defensive display on only his second Spurs start, saw his header from Bale's corner ruled out for a push on Stefano Mauri.

Rather than urge the home side on, the decision sucked the energy out of the game and, an Andros Townsend effort aside, Lazio managed to stifle any Tottenham momentum to take a hard-earned point back to Rome.

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas told ITV4:

"I think we did enough to get the win today. I am extremely happy with the performance and the effort that the players put in.

"You can't reprimand them for anything, they were outstanding, they managed to create enough opportunities to win the game.

"The team put the ball in the back of the net three times, but all the goals were disallowed by the ref, so it's a bit disappointing.

"It shows that we are on the right track to giving something back to the fans. We were superior against a team that is doing extremely well. We can be happy with that performance."

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)

Tottenham

  • 25 Lloris
  • 05 Vertonghen
  • 16 Naughton
  • 28 Walker
  • 33 Caulker
  • 02 Dempsey (Sigurdsson - 76' )
  • 07 Lennon (Townsend - 81' )
  • 11 Bale
  • 30 Sandro
  • 18 Defoe
  • 19 Dembele (Mason - 90' )

Substitutes

  • 23 Cudicini
  • 13 Gallas
  • 20 Dawson
  • 06 Huddlestone
  • 22 Sigurdsson
  • 31 Townsend
  • 38 Mason

Lazio

  • 22 Marchetti
  • 03 Andre Dias Booked
  • 20 Biava Booked
  • 39 Cavanda
  • 06 Mauri Booked (Ederson - 90' )
  • 08 Hernanes (Ciani - 90' )
  • 15 Gonzalez Luengo Booked
  • 19 Lulic
  • 23 Onazi (Zarate - 80' )
  • 24 Ledesma
  • 11 Klose

Substitutes

  • 01 Bizzarri
  • 02 Ciani
  • 05 Scaloni
  • 07 Ederson
  • 10 Zarate
  • 18 Kozak
  • 99 Floccari
Ref: Ovidiu Alin Hategan
Att: 25,030

Match Stats

Shots

9 1

On target

7 0

Corners

6 2

Fouls

7 21

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:34 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +3:42 Substitution

Substitution Mousa Dembele goes off and Ryan Mason comes on.

90:00 +3:42 Substitution

Substitution Anderson Hernanes goes off and Michael Ciani comes on.

90:00 +1:26 Substitution

Substitution Stefano Mauri leaves the field to be replaced by Honorato Ederson.

90:00 +1:08

Headed effort from the edge of the area by Andros Townsend goes wide of the right-hand upright.

89:01

Senad Lulic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andros Townsend. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Kyle Walker.

84:15

Kyle Naughton restarts play with the free kick.

84:15 Booking

Booking The referee shows Stefano Mauri a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

84:07

Stefano Mauri challenges Kyle Naughton unfairly and gives away a free kick.

80:55 Substitution

Substitution Andros Townsend is brought on as a substitute for Aaron Lennon.

79:46

Inswinging corner taken by Anderson Hernanes from the left by-line, save by Hugo Lloris.

79:46 Substitution

Substitution Mauro Zarate comes on in place of Ogenyi Onazi.

78:23

Jermain Defoe concedes a free kick for a foul on Luis Cavanda. Direct free kick taken by Federico Marchetti.

77:07

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Senad Lulic. Steven Caulker takes the direct free kick.

75:29 Substitution

Substitution Clint Dempsey goes off and Gylfi Sigurdsson comes on.

73:22

Ogenyi Onazi concedes a free kick for a foul on Mousa Dembele. Free kick taken by Raniere Sandro.

71:43

Foul by Aaron Lennon on Alvaro Gonzalez, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Federico Marchetti.

71:14

Stefano Mauri concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Naughton. Kyle Naughton restarts play with the free kick.

68:37

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Gareth Bale, Raniere Sandro concedes a free kick for a foul on Stefano Mauri. Federico Marchetti takes the direct free kick.

65:17

Gareth Bale crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Stefano Mauri makes a clearance.

65:17 Booking

Booking Alvaro Gonzalez is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.

65:07

Foul by Alvaro Gonzalez on Aaron Lennon, free kick awarded.

64:50

The offside flag is raised against Miroslav Klose. Free kick taken by Mousa Dembele.

62:55

Unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Alvaro Gonzalez results in a free kick. The ball is swung over by Gareth Bale, Header by Raniere Sandro from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.

62:05

Gareth Bale restarts play with the free kick.

62:05 Booking

Booking Andre Dias is shown a yellow card.

61:57

Free kick awarded for a foul by Andre Dias on Gareth Bale.

58:29

Gareth Bale is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Federico Marchetti.

55:33

Ogenyi Onazi gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Bale. Gareth Bale crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, clearance by Senad Lulic.

54:54

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Gareth Bale, Senad Lulic manages to make a clearance.

53:57

Free kick awarded for a foul by Senad Lulic on Gareth Bale. Kyle Walker restarts play with the free kick.

53:16

The referee blows for offside against Clint Dempsey. Federico Marchetti takes the free kick.

52:00

Inswinging corner taken by Gareth Bale from the right by-line.

51:39

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Gareth Bale, Stefano Mauri makes a clearance.

51:23

Clint Dempsey takes a shot. Andre Dias gets a block in.

50:04

The ball is swung over by Gareth Bale, clearance by Andre Dias.

45:56

The official flags Stefano Mauri offside. Steven Caulker takes the free kick.

45:01

The second half has started.

45:00 +0:14 Half time

Half Time The match has reached half-time.

41:26

Alvaro Gonzalez takes a shot.

39:26

Unfair challenge on Kyle Walker by Miroslav Klose results in a free kick. Hugo Lloris takes the direct free kick.

38:38

The ball is crossed by Cristian Ledesma.

37:50

Aaron Lennon gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stefano Mauri. Cristian Ledesma takes the direct free kick.

36:16

Cristian Ledesma gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mousa Dembele. Free kick taken by Mousa Dembele.

34:40

Andre Dias fouled by Clint Dempsey, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Federico Marchetti.

33:01

Corner taken by Anderson Hernanes from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Gareth Bale.

32:04

Unfair challenge on Stefano Mauri by Kyle Naughton results in a free kick. Giuseppe Biava takes the direct free kick.

31:04

Luis Cavanda challenges Jermain Defoe unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Kyle Naughton.

27:32

Strike comes in from Clint Dempsey from the free kick.

27:32 Booking

Booking Giuseppe Biava goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.

27:23

Giuseppe Biava challenges Aaron Lennon unfairly and gives away a free kick.

26:38

The assistant referee flags for offside against Gareth Bale. Federico Marchetti restarts play with the free kick.

25:08

Free kick awarded for a foul by Alvaro Gonzalez on Clint Dempsey. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Gareth Bale. Corner taken by Gareth Bale.

23:06

The assistant referee flags for offside against Miroslav Klose. Steven Caulker restarts play with the free kick.

21:47

The official flags Clint Dempsey offside. Indirect free kick taken by Federico Marchetti.

19:48

Jermain Defoe fouled by Ogenyi Onazi, the ref awards a free kick. Gareth Bale crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left channel, clearance made by Miroslav Klose.

19:16

Gareth Bale takes a outswinging corner to the near post.

18:55

Aaron Lennon takes a shot. Save by Federico Marchetti.

18:43

Aaron Lennon sends in a cross, Andre Dias makes a clearance.

16:01

Cristian Ledesma concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Walker. Gareth Bale crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Andre Dias makes a clearance.

14:46

Gareth Bale fouled by Ogenyi Onazi, the ref awards a free kick. Gareth Bale crosses the ball in from the free kick, Miroslav Klose makes a clearance.

13:06

Anderson Hernanes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Clint Dempsey. Gareth Bale produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.

12:33

Jermain Defoe takes a shot. Save by Federico Marchetti.

10:36

Stefano Mauri is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Hugo Lloris takes the indirect free kick.

9:50

Clint Dempsey takes a shot. Giuseppe Biava gets a block in.

9:38

Centre by Gareth Bale, Andre Dias makes a clearance.

8:39

Aaron Lennon delivers the ball, clearance made by Luis Cavanda.

6:23

Foul by Cristian Ledesma on Raniere Sandro, free kick awarded. Jan Vertonghen takes the direct free kick.

3:57

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jan Vertonghen by Ogenyi Onazi. Direct free kick taken by Hugo Lloris.

0:00

The referee gets the game underway.

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