Tottenham suffer shock defeat in Europa league

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Scottish giants Celtic and English sides Tottenham and Birmingham City were left needing to win their final Europa League group matches if they are to have a chance of reaching the knockout stages after losing their penultimate group matches on Wednesday.

Spurs were surprisingly beaten 2-1 at home by PAOK Salonika – who qualified thanks to the win – after conceding two early goals and were unable to take advantage of playing all of the second-half against 10 men.

Celtic lost 1-0 at home to Spanish giants Atletico Madrid – who ensured they progressed – while Championship outfit Birmingham City went down by the same margin away at last season’s surprise finalists Portuguese side Braga. Celtic, though, will need to pull off a win away at Italian side Udinese – who are three points ahead of them after drawing 0-0 with bottom side Rennes.

Birmingham must beat already eliminated Maribor and hope there is a winner from the Braga and Club Brugge match as both are three points ahead of the English League Cup holders.

Spurs will feel hard done by as they had what they thought a perfectly good goal from Jermaine Defoe ruled out after initially being given but they were their own worst enemies as they failed to put away any of their chances in the second-half.

Croatian star Luka Modric’s first-half penalty had got them back into the match after Kostas Stafylidis was sent off somewhat harshly for handling on the line.

The Greek side had stormed into a 2-0 lead through a Dimitris Salpingidis header and a Stefanos Athanasiadis tap-in after 13 minutes.

For Spurs to qualify they need to beat pointless Irish side Shamrock Rovers and hope Russian outfit Rubin Kazan drop points against PAOK.

Celtic should have been 1-0 down after six minutes as Argentinian Eduardo Salvio was picked out unmarked in the box but his header lacked the accuracy reflected in his return of just one goal this season.

Celtic had their chances with veteran Greek striker Giorgios Samaras having the best one but his sidefooted volley from close range went straight at the ‘keeper.

While Salvio missed another gilt-edged chance Atletico did eventually break the deadlock in the 30th minute through the impressive Turkish international Arda Turan.

The former Galatasaray star rifled home a 25 yard effort after an Atletico corner had been headed clear but Celtic skipper Beram Kayal will take some of the blame as he ill advisedly ducked to let the shot fly over him and see it go in off ‘keeper Fraser Forster’s hands.

Things got worse for the former European Cup winners as left back Joe Ledley was stretchered off and was replaced by Charlie Mulgrew, who played despite his father dying last week.

Celtic pushed forward in the second-half as they had to do and thought they had grabbed an equaliser in the 66th minute through Gary Hooper but it was ruled out for handball by Anthony Stokes.

Birmingham should have been in front away to Sporting Braga at half-time but Serbian striker Nikola Zigic saw his penalty – awarded for a trip by Ewerton on Wade Elliott – saved by veteran ‘keeper Quim.

The English side paid for missing the penalty and wasting several other chances as the hosts took the lead early in the second-half as former Newcastle flop Hugo Viana let fly from 25 yards and his shot gave Birmingham ‘keeper Boaz Myhill no chance as it took a huge deflection.

The Portuguese side had the upper hand from that moment on but like their opponents in the first-half couldn’t put their chances away, the best of them coming shortly before the final whistle as Myhill blocked Lima’s shot and then Paulo Cesar made a mess of his effort from the rebound.

Europa League results:

Rubin Kazan 4 Shamrock Rovers 1
Tottenham Hotspur 1 PAOK Salonika 2
Standard Liege 2 Hannover 0
Vorskla Poltava 1 FC Copenhagen 1
Legia Warsaw 0 PSV Eindhoven 3
Rapid Bucharest 1 Hapoel Tel-Aviv 3
Celtic 0 Atletico Madrid 1
Rennes 0 Udinese 0
Metalist Kharkov 4 Austria Vienna 1
Malmo 0 AZ Alkmaar 0
Braga 1 Birmingham City 0
Maribor 3 Club Brugge 4

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