Tottenham have suffered their first European defeat of the season at the hands of Rubin Kazan, with the Eastern European outfit recording a 1-0 win over the English side at the Central’nyj Stadion on Thursday night.
The White Hart Lane team fielded a side of mostly young and fringe players, with the only senior men included being William Gallas, Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Sebastian Bassong.
Steven Pienaar also made a return from a groin injury, and played the full 90 minutes of the Europa League tie.
Things went into the interval all square, but a Bibras Natcho free-kick on 56 minutes sealed the victory for the home team.
The defeat sees Harry Redknapp’s men drop from first in Group A to third, with a home game against PAOK and a trip to Ireland to face Shamrock Rovers still to play.
Assistant manager Kevin Bond took charge of the side in Redknapp’s absence, and despite the loss is still upbeat about Spurs’ chances of qualifying for the knockout stages.
“We were under no illusion how good a side they were,” Bond told BBC Sport.
“It’s going to be tight right until the end, but with the games we have got left it’s still in our hands to qualify and we feel confident we will do,” he concluded.
Spurs now take on Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday and will welcome back their big name players. The North London outfit will be aiming to make it seven wins from eight league games, as their search for a top four finish continues.
By Gareth McKnight