Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko has scored against his countrymen from Rubin Kazan to give Tottenham a narrow 1-0 home win on Matchday 3 of the Europa League.
The Londoners left several of their leading players, including midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, on the bench and were under serious pressure from the Russian visitors throughout the whole 90 minutes.
Rubin created a number of good chancres through Gokdeniz Karadeniz, Aleksandr Ryazantsev and Christian Noboa, but couldn’t beat Spurs’ inform keeper Heurelho Gomes.
One strike was enough for the English side to grab all three points on the night, with Pavlyuchenko slotting a splendid free-kick in the 33rd minute to make it 1-0.
“To be honest, it was my only scoring chance of the whole game,” Roman Pavlyuchenko told Sportbox.ru. “Usually we play better, creating more chances. But it was Rubin who prevented us from coming up with something interesting. I didn’t like how we played. It was a game till the goal.”
Super-Pav’s strike saw Tottenham go top of Group A, with 7 points after three games, while Rubin slip down to third (4 points) after Greek side PAOK took care of Irish visitors Shamrock Rovers with a 2-1 scoreline.
Lokomotiv Moscow 3-1 AEK
Loko celebrated victory on their 100th Europan encounter, thanks to a brace from captain Dmitry Sychev.
The 27-year-old headed in the Muscovites’ opener in the 47th minute and then doubled the hosts’ lead 28 minutes later, converting the penalty which he himself had earned for a 2-0 lead.
Substitute Dimitris Sialmas got one back for the Greeks in the last minute of the game, but Lokomotiv sub Felipe Caicedo restored the two-goal lead in stoppage time to make the final score 3-1.
“It took us too long to start our engines and finally start playing,” Dmitry Sychev said. “We had to speak in raised voices to each other during the break and managed to shake ourselves up and prove that we’re stronger.
“We were tired after the home league game against FC Tom and had to demonstrate the true willpower to win,” he added.
Meanwhile, Anderlecht maintained their 100 per cent record in Group L, after beating Sturm Graz on the road, with Lokomotiv in second, three points behind.