Two late strikes against Panathinaikos eased the tension at White Hart Lane and ensured Spurs progressed to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Tottenham merely needed a draw to reach the last 32 and were set on their way with Emmanuel Adebayor's opener.

But Zeca headed the Greeks level and a nervy second half ensued until keeper Orestis Karnezis directed Clint Dempsey's header into his own goal.

Vicory was secured when Jermain Defoe dinked in a third late on.

Juan Ramon Rocha, a Spurs fan, took over the helm at Panathinaikos for a second time last month and although his reign as coach has seen an upturn in the club's fortunes, the Greek club's former midfielder played down his team's chances of winning at White Hart Lane.  

Europa League last 32 qualifiers

  • Group A: Liverpool and Anzhi
  • Group B: Plzen and Atletico Madrid
  • Group C: Fenerbahce and Monchengladbach
  • Group D: Bordeaux and Newcastle
  • Group E: Steaua Bucharest and Stuttgart
  • Group F: Dnipro and Napoli
  • Group G: Genk and Basel
  • Group H: Inter Milan and Rubin Kazan
  • Group I: Lyon and Sparta Prague
  • Group J: Lazio and Tottenham
  • Group K: Bayer Leverkusen and Metalist Kharkiv
  • Group L: Hannover and Levante
  • Champions League: Dynamo Kiev, Olympiakos, Zenit, Ajax, Chelsea, BATE Borisov, Benfica, CFR Cluj.

Panathinaikos would have qualified had they managed to beat Andre Villas-Boas's men but Rocha's pre-match caution rubbed off on his conservative players.

In the absence of the injured Gareth Bale, Dempsey deputised as the home team's tormentor-in-chief, linking cleverly with his strikers and proving a key figure as the Londoners finished second behind Lazio in Group J.

Yet for all of Tottenham's possession they failed to threaten the Panathinaikos goal until a defence-splitting pass from the American set the recalled Adebayor free to score his second goal of the season.

Adebayor's strike was all the more painful for the visitors as seven minutes earlier Toche had wasted their best opportunity of the half.

The Spanish striker had been put clear by a canny Giourkas Seitaridis free-kick, but he could only guide the ball into Brad Friedel's hands, a straight-forward save for a goalkeeper making his first Tottenham appearance in a month.

Tottenham, and Defoe in particular, wasted chances either side of the break. The England striker lashed wildly from six yards in the closing stages of the first half and then hit the post with a low, whizzing effort in the 48th minute.

Despite Defoe's profligacy the hosts were comfortable, unsurprisingly so considering they had won their previous three Premier League games - but there was to be a twist.

And the vocal visiting fans were soon celebrating wildly when Zeca headed a menacing cross from Nikos Spyropoulos beyond Friedel's outstretched frame.

Another Panathinaikos goal could have eliminated the hosts and an off-balance Toche added to the home side's jitters by going inches wide from giving his buoyed team the lead,

It was as close as the Greek outfit got, though, with Dempsey instrumental for Spurs once again.

Kyle Walker's free-kick found the summer signing, whose header ricocheted off the crossbar and into the net via Karnezis.

Six minutes later, Lennon set off on a wonderful sinuous run and released Defoe, who coolly chipped over the diving Karnezis for his 13th goal of the season to rubber-stamp Tottenham's presence in the last-32 draw on 20 December.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas: "The problem was 1-0 wasn't enough. They had the determination and motivation to get a result. But we played really well and had opportunities.

"We felt a little bit of anxiety but managed to get the result which was fair.

"We've been scoring a lot of goals and I think the team is the second-best attacking team in the Premier League. We create chances and we took our chances."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Tottenham

  • 24 Friedel
  • 05 Vertonghen
  • 16 Naughton Booked
  • 28 Walker
  • 33 Caulker
  • 02 Dempsey (Sigurdsson - 80' )
  • 07 Lennon (Livermore - 87' )
  • 30 Sandro
  • 46 Carroll (Dembele - 75' )
  • 10 Adebayor
  • 18 Defoe

Substitutes

  • 23 Cudicini
  • 59 Stewart
  • 06 Huddlestone
  • 22 Sigurdsson
  • 29 Livermore
  • 31 Townsend
  • 19 Dembele

Panathinaikos

  • 27 Karnezis
  • 16 Seitaridis
  • 24 Vyntra
  • 31 Spyropoulos Booked
  • 45 Triantafyllopoulos
  • 06 Vitolo
  • 07 Mavrias (Fornaroli - 83' )
  • 17 Zeca
  • 20 Sow (Christodoulopoulos - 60' )
  • 03 Sissoko
  • 09 Toche (Petropoulos - 78' )

Substitutes

  • 40 Kapino
  • 22 Marinos
  • 41 Chouchoumis
  • 44 Velasquez
  • 10 Christodoulopoulos
  • 14 Fornaroli
  • 28 Petropoulos
Ref: Pawel Gil
Att: 32,554

Match Stats

Shots

11 7

On target

5 3

Corners

5 1

Fouls

15 8

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:12 Full time

Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.

90:00 +1:54

The ball is delivered by Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Header from close in by Bruno Fornaroli misses to the left of the target.

90:00 +1:42

Short corner taken by Lazaros Christodoulopoulos.

86:52

Corner taken by Kyle Walker from the left by-line to the near post, Gylfi Sigurdsson has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide left of the target.

86:52 Substitution

Substitution Aaron Lennon goes off and Jake Livermore comes on.

82:43 Substitution

Substitution Charis Mavrias goes off and Bruno Fornaroli comes on.

82:09

The assist for the goal came from Aaron Lennon.

82:09 Goal scored

Goal! - Jermain Defoe - Tottenham 3 - 1 Panath'kos Jermain Defoe finds the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Tottenham 3-1 Panathinaikos.

79:20 Substitution

Substitution Clint Dempsey leaves the field to be replaced by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

77:47

Jermain Defoe concedes a free kick for a foul on Loukas Vyntra. Victor Vitolo restarts play with the free kick.

77:05

Mousa Dembele restarts play with the free kick.

77:05 Substitution

Substitution Jose Toche leaves the field to be replaced by Antonis Petropoulos.

77:05

Unfair challenge on Emmanuel Adebayor by Ibrahim Sissoko results in a free kick.

76:39

Ibrahim Sissoko sends in a cross, clearance by Kyle Walker.

75:19

The assist for the goal came from Kyle Walker.

75:19 Goal scored

Goal! - Orestis Karnezis - Tottenham 2 - 1 Panath'kos Orestis Karnezis scores an own goal from 6 yards. Tottenham 2-1 Panathinaikos.

73:56

Kyle Walker sends in a cross, Clint Dempsey takes a shot.

73:56 Substitution

Substitution Mousa Dembele joins the action as a substitute, replacing Tom Carroll.

73:56

Jose Carlos Zeca gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Raniere Sandro.

73:03

Centre by Nikos Spyropoulos, clearance made by Jan Vertonghen.

71:11

Clint Dempsey fouled by Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, the ref awards a free kick. Clint Dempsey takes the free kick.

70:38

Effort by Lazaros Christodoulopoulos from a long way out goes over the crossbar.

69:40

Nikos Spyropoulos sends in a cross, Jose Toche produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.

67:32

Free kick taken by Kyle Walker.

67:32 Booking

Booking Nikos Spyropoulos goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

67:20

Free kick awarded for a foul by Nikos Spyropoulos on Aaron Lennon.

66:51

Emmanuel Adebayor gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Giorgos Seitaridis. Free kick taken by Giorgos Seitaridis.

65:33

Free kick taken by Ibrahim Sissoko.

65:33 Booking

Booking Kyle Naughton is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

65:30

Free kick awarded for a foul by Kyle Naughton on Ibrahim Sissoko.

64:41

Clint Dempsey challenges Jose Carlos Zeca unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Jose Carlos Zeca.

63:29

Nikos Spyropoulos produces a cross, save made by Brad Friedel.

60:05

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Emmanuel Adebayor by Konstantinos Triantafyllopoulos. Free kick taken by Emmanuel Adebayor.

59:23 Substitution

Substitution Lazaros Christodoulopoulos on for Pape Habib Sow.

58:37

Tom Carroll gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nikos Spyropoulos. Nikos Spyropoulos crosses the ball in from the free kick.

57:08

Centre by Giorgos Seitaridis, comfortable save by Brad Friedel.

53:34

Nikos Spyropoulos provided the assist for the goal.

53:34 Goal scored

Goal! - Jose Carlos Zeca - Tottenham 1 - 1 Panath'kos Jose Carlos Zeca scores a headed goal from close range. Tottenham 1-1 Panathinaikos.

53:20

Centre by Jose Carlos Zeca, Kyle Naughton manages to make a clearance.

52:38

Victor Vitolo fouled by Emmanuel Adebayor, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Giorgos Seitaridis.

50:08

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Konstantinos Triantafyllopoulos by Jermain Defoe. Direct free kick taken by Konstantinos Triantafyllopoulos.

48:28

Raniere Sandro concedes a free kick for a foul on Pape Habib Sow. Orestis Karnezis takes the free kick.

48:16

Effort from inside the penalty box by Jermain Defoe hits the post.

46:36

Pape Habib Sow takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a comfortable save.

45:01

The referee gets the second half underway.

45:00 +0:11 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.

44:51

Corner taken right-footed by Kyle Walker, save made by Orestis Karnezis.

44:06

Inswinging corner taken by Kyle Walker from the left by-line, Jan Vertonghen takes a shot. Clearance by Victor Vitolo.

43:49

Emmanuel Adebayor takes a shot. Blocked by Konstantinos Triantafyllopoulos.

43:32

Jose Carlos Zeca is caught offside. Kyle Naughton takes the indirect free kick.

43:08

Clint Dempsey concedes a free kick for a foul on Giorgos Seitaridis. Victor Vitolo takes the free kick.

41:10

The offside flag is raised against Charis Mavrias. Kyle Walker restarts play with the free kick.

40:33

Clint Dempsey is penalised for a handball. Orestis Karnezis restarts play with the free kick.

40:16

Tom Carroll delivers the ball, clearance made by Loukas Vyntra.

39:38

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Tom Carroll played to the near post, Jose Carlos Zeca manages to make a clearance.

38:32

Charis Mavrias handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Emmanuel Adebayor.

37:00

Shot from inside the area by Jermain Defoe clears the bar.

33:01

Shot from outside the area by Pape Habib Sow misses to the left of the goal.

32:13

Effort on goal by Raniere Sandro from long range goes harmlessly over the bar.

30:43

The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Orestis Karnezis.

28:06

Clint Dempsey provided the assist for the goal.

28:06 Goal scored

Goal! - Emmanuel Adebayor - Tottenham 1 - 0 Panath'kos Goal scored by Emmanuel Adebayor from the edge of the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Tottenham 1-0 Panathinaikos.

26:05

Aaron Lennon delivers the ball, clearance by Loukas Vyntra.

24:07

Clint Dempsey takes a shot from 35 yards and missed to the left of the goal.

20:49

Kyle Naughton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jose Carlos Zeca. The ball is sent over by Giorgos Seitaridis, Jose Toche takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.

19:52

Jan Vertonghen gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ibrahim Sissoko. Victor Vitolo takes the free kick.

17:53

Unfair challenge on Orestis Karnezis by Steven Caulker results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Orestis Karnezis.

16:45

Victor Vitolo challenges Clint Dempsey unfairly and gives away a free kick. Kyle Walker has an effort direct from the free kick.

15:22

Tom Carroll produces a cross, Pape Habib Sow manages to make a clearance.

12:54

Jose Toche is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Kyle Walker.

12:32

Emmanuel Adebayor produces a cross, Loukas Vyntra manages to make a clearance.

10:51

Foul by Jose Carlos Zeca on Kyle Naughton, free kick awarded. Kyle Naughton takes the free kick.

9:26

Unfair challenge on Nikos Spyropoulos by Raniere Sandro results in a free kick. Charis Mavrias takes the free kick.

8:52

Tom Carroll takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Jose Toche makes a clearance.

7:51

The ball is sent over by Emmanuel Adebayor, clearance made by Charis Mavrias.

7:20

Free kick awarded for a foul by Victor Vitolo on Jermain Defoe. Tom Carroll takes the direct free kick.

6:01

Nikos Spyropoulos sends in a cross, Jan Vertonghen makes a clearance.

5:27

Free kick awarded for a foul by Tom Carroll on Ibrahim Sissoko. Ibrahim Sissoko takes the free kick.

2:16

Raniere Sandro challenges Ibrahim Sissoko unfairly and gives away a free kick. Victor Vitolo takes the free kick.

0:00

The game begins.

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