That's it. Spurs had a legitimate goal disallowed and then had Hugo Lloris to thank for a trio of excellent saves and Libor Kozak for a trio of ridiculous misses. A draw against Panathinaikos at White Hart Lane will put them into the last 876 of the Europa League, where Lazio now are. Right, time to switch to Liverpool-Young Boys ...
Floccari fires wide as Lazio spurn their last chance. "I know the saying is 'American as apple pie', but the traditional pie at Thanksgiving is pumpkin," claims Joe Pearson. Makes sense, I suppose. Don't want those Halloween leftovers to go to waste.
This match is approaching its conclusion and so too is The Great Toilet Roll Debate, with Pat Cullen delivering the verdict. "The number nine is a red herring," he bellows. "Toilet paper is sold by weight, 9 rolls of 3 ply paper weighing in at precisely 500 grams… "
Villas-Boas is very animated on the sideline, like a besuited Morph. But that's not helping his team, who remain on the back foot as the manager's attacking changes have not had the impact he wished. "Obviously, 2, 4 and 9 are all square numbers," trills Pat Brown in reference to the ongoing toilet roll controversy. "The next pack up would have to be 16, then 25, then 36, then 54..." Nice suggestion, but I refuse to believe that Pat Brown is your real name ...
Lloris produces his best save of the game! He showed tremendous reflexes to get down low and scramble away a towering five-hard header from Ciani! Brad Friedel, feel free to pig out on apple pie: you may not be needed for a while ...
If you just can't get enough Europa League action, know that almost as soon as this game trundles to the inevitable 0-0, I'll be switching dashing straight to Anfield via a high-tech televisual receiver to bring you sensation-by-sensation coverage of Liverpool v Young Boys of Berne.
Ederson has made a difference since coming on, adding effervescence to the Lazio attack. His latest shot yields a corner, which, in turn, yields zilch.
Lloris does well to punch an in-swinging corner clear. He's had a good night so far, the keeper, which may well be ruining Brad Friedel's Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Lawrence Aggleton has an answer - of sorts - to Simon McMahon's conundrum. "Toielt rools come in packs of nine because 9 = 3 x 3. It's simple maths." Well, yes, but 10 = 2 x 5; and 12 = 3 x 4. This isn't helping.
Spurs change: off comes Carroll, who played well, playing a couple of excellent passes, and on comes Dembélé, who's capable of doing that and more. Spurs want to win this.
Vertonghen booked for shunting Ederson off the ball and throwing in a sneaky forearm slam. "He was reluctant to look the referee in the face as he showed him the card," notes ITV's Jim Beglin, suggesting the Belgian is racked by shame.
Here's some good news: toielt rools are also available in packs of .... no, sorry, I mean, Mousa Dembélé is limbering up.
Lazio players hold a lengthy summit to decide who will take the freekick that they've just won about 25 yards from goal. After the powwow, Ledesma is nominated to ... curl it high and wide. "There I was, sitting on the toilet, following the MBM when I suddenly thought, 'Why is toilet roll sold in 9's?'" parps the classy and discerning Simon McMahon. "Of course you can get a two pack, or a four, but then it jumps to nine. Why? It's like tea bags being sold in packs of 40, 80 and 173."
Lazio change: the very disappoitning Hernanes off, Ederson on.
Panathinaikos have just gone a goal up against Maribor in the other match in this group, meaning a draw here will put Lazio through and Spurs and Pana will face off at White Hart Lane to decide who joins them. "Gah, we finally get a girl on the Mbm and she's scared off by a wackadoo hair cut suggestions?" bawls Ryan Dunne. "WTF, Paul!?"
Another chance for Kozak, another miss by Kozak. He struck his 16-yard shot too softly and it was a comfortable save for Lloris.
Lloris, for the third time tonight, plays the sweeper role to perfection, racing off his line to boot the danger to touch. "Shake and bake is a reference to Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby, an above average comedy starring Will Ferrell and John C. Riley," interjects Dan Schulwolf. "Kudos to my fellow American Joe Pearson. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Unfortunately, I am studying abroad in Berlin and had to settle for a Döner Kebap for dinner. My mother only exacerbated this fact by gleefully messaging me about the delicious apple pies she has made." You need to get yourself down to your local strudel vendor.
Predictable Spurs substitutions: Dempsey and Sigurdsson off, Lennon and Defoe on.
Shocking play all round! Sandro goofed in the middle to allow Lazio in, Caulker had an opportunity to save them but fell over. Kozak was clean through on Lloris, who went down early ... and the striker prodded it well wide from eight yards! At this rate there's unlikely to be any Kozak dancing tonight.
Abominable corner by Bale. Again.
Ledesma wanders around the middle with the ball for a bit, t hen balloons it to Lloris. The generally sloppiness continues at the other end as Lazio needlesslly concede a corner as Ciani chests the ball behind. "Woah, with the yelling," yells Todd Landaburu. "It is pretty much a singular philosophy in how Spurs attack. Maybe Gareth Bobby and Cal Naughton can do a little shake-and-bake." I have no idea what any of that meant but it was better than anything else in my inbox, including the 76 offers of magic invigorators.
There was really no need for the last two minutes.
Spurs are having a bit more of a go this half, and Adebayor swings in another cross. But Marchetti beats Caulker to it.
A fetching ball from Carroll finds Adebayor down the right. The vicious cross from the Togoelse forces Lazio into the concession of a corner. Yet again Marchetti comes to punch clear. He's really quite good at that and Tottenham are going to have to start factoring it into their thinking RATHER THAN JUST DOING THE SAME THING EVERY TIME AND HOPING FOR A DIFFERENT OUTCOME, which some say is the definition of insanity.
Naughton is back to his feet and seems to be OK, which means Sigurdsson sill looks odds-on to be the first Totenham player substituted. This game has passed him by. Other than the kick in the plums, obviously.
A pause in play as Naughton is down injured. It's not clear what happened him as there was no rough tackle. Seems to be some manner of knee bother. "Speaking of tonsures, I went to see the follically challenged Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler this week," says Justin Kavanagh with either an irritating nasal whine or a laid-back and tuneful drawl."The American seems to have opted to cover his baldiness with a wig and a large hat, while the Englishman has embraced his cue ball by dropping the famous headband from the 80s. A bit like Gazza in your photo, who once sported a fetching set of hair extensions, if memory serves."
At half-time, ITV opinion-peddler Gordon Strachan expressed the view that Spurs need to alter their approach: "I've like to see a bit more running from the gut," he says. Maybe he'll get it if Spurs spent the break eating lasagne.
Well, that was better than a rush-hour trip in the Tube. Some fun moments, some wojus passing and some hope for a decent second period. There should have been goals in that half and there's a good chance there'll be some in the second. "A tonsure is not a typical lady's look," storms Joe Pearson, as if that's a reason not to do it. Go for it, Ruth!
The returned Walker steps in to intercept an intended Hernanes through-ball to Lulic. Spurs try to build their first meaningful move for a while but it's all a little laborious.
Walker is now back, his numbers duly synchronised.
Walker still isn't back on the pitch, seemingly because the jersey he was given to replace the bloodied one has a different number to the number on his shorts. All of which leaves Spurs outnumbered on the pitch, and Lloris has just had to charge off his line again to pounce at the feet of Kozak as Lazio threaten to exploit their advantage.
Walker is receiving treatment. Meanwhile, Lloris continues with his impressive display by hurtling off his line to intercept a long ball from deep after Veertonghen left it. "Steve Harris album is a grower, not an instant hit," reports Ruth Finn. "It's not Maiden by any means but once you get over the slightly meh vocals its grand! As for me, I'm getting my hair done." Thanks for that, and good luck with the hair. I recommend a tonsure.
This is a fun game and it's getting funner. Both sides clearly want the win that would put them through and both sides look capable of getting it. Mind you, Lazio will have to improve their finishing, as Biava has become the latest to miss a good chance, failing to even connect with the ball after a decent cross from the left.
Lazio are getting closer. Or rather, they're starting to create clear chances but the latest one was headed miles wide by Kozak. "Clearly kicking players where it hurts is a Lazio thing," reckons Peter Thurlow. " recall when a Lazio player almost removed David Johnson’s precious bits with a reckless tackle when they were playing Ipswich (as a Town fan, I find it difficult to believe we once played so well in Europe.) But on that occasion we beat the Italians 4-0 and the saintly Trevor Whymark scored a hat-trick." Will history repeat itself here? Probably not: Trevor Whymark is 62 and has been overlooked by Andre VIllas-Boas.
Another super save by Lloris. Lazio broke quickly and Walker was caught out of position, allowing Cavanda to play the ball through to Kozak, who found himself with only Llrois to beat. But the Frenchman diverted the striker's low shot behind with quickly outstretched right foot.
Tottenham corner cleared. "Since it's Thanksgiving here in the USA! USA!! USA!!!, I actually get to watch the Europa League games today (rather than hunkering down for the traditional Detroit Lions beatdown) and I am pumped," riffs Joe Pearson. "On a more important note, is Steve Harris' solo album any good? I haven't picked up "British Lion" yet, but I figured I could count on you for an objective review." I haven't heard it yet either: anyone else care to shed some light?
Cross or shot? Who knows, but Bale's delivery from the right forced Marchetii into a a very awkward save. And from the ensuing corner Marui headed wide .... but the ref thought it was Caulker. This different-coloured-jersey wheeze seems to be of no use to tonight's officials.
Ledesma beats Caulker to A Tottenham corner and nods it behind for another one. This time Marchetti punches Sigurdsson's in-swinger away. On reflection, that could have been phrased better so as to avoid causing unnecessary wincing to the possibly still-traumatised Icelander.
Lulic tries to beat Walker for speed. Walker by name, but not by nature: the full-back easily wins the sprint.
Hope our fans are ok n injured get well soon!! Violence is neva cool! Ignorance cannot hide behind football. ....— Benoit Assou-Ekotto (@AssouEkotto) November 22, 2012
Spurs are riling Lazio fans - which is always a righteous thing - by keeping possession well. At least they were until the Italians won it back after three minutes of Spurs action and Ledesma unleashes a ferocious swirling shot from 20 yards. Lloris did very well to tip it over.
Dinky dummy by Lulic to let the ball run to Radu, who then gives it back to him. But then Lulic swipes an 18-yard shot way over the bar. "Did you see that linesman?" thunders Sam Abrahams. "Duffs up the offside then ducks out of the way just as Sigurdsson gets kicked in the Niagras. That's just not on."
Bale lolls down the left and fires a powerful cross to the near post, where Sigurdsson lunges at it ... but Radu donks it behind for a corner.
It's been a decent start by Spurs, who, beyond scoring a legitimate goal that was branded invalid, have kep0t a solid shape and prevented Lazio from creating any chances. But passing from both sides has been iffy.
Through incompetence rather than malice, Radu kicks Sigurdsson in the Niagras. That's a freekick an serious pain for the Icelander.
Tottenham denied a goal by a terrible decision! Carroll split the defence with a wonderful pass from deep and Bale, having timed his run perfectly, raced onto it and rounded the keeper before rolling it into the net. But the assistant was waving his flag like a toddler during a royal visit, and he had no business doing so.
The advertising hoarding all around the ground is promoting a well-known brand of knives, which is unfortunate. Meanwhjile, Spurs are struggling to keep hold of the ball but Lazio have been quite scruffy too. Nothing doing so far, in other words.
And they're off. Ear-grating boos signify that Spurs have the ball, and apparently put the visitors off: they cough up possession within seconds and file back into a defensive shape.
Here we go
Out waddle the Spurs players, emerging from the tunnel around the pitch like escaped POWs. To victory?
Lazio will book their place in the last 876 of this competition if the beat Tottenham tonight. Chances are that even if a significant number of their more savage fans spew racist swill or physically attack visitors in the street, Lazio will be allowed to keep that place in the last 876. So the only way to dump them out will be for Tottenham to topple them tonight while Maribor go on an improbable run. Careful consideration of every possible variable, including dropped crosses by Hugo Lloris and brain-fails by Emmanuel Adebayor, has led imaginary boffins to put the chances of Spurs' prevailing tonight at 52:48.
Lazio: Marchetti, Radu, Ciani, Biava, Cavanda, Mauri, Gonzalez, Kozak, Ledesma, Hernanes, Lulic
Subs: Bizzarri, Scaloni, Ederson, Onazi, Rozzi, Candreva, Floccari
Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Caulker, Naughton, Sigurdsson, Sandro, Carroll, Bale, Dempsey, Adebayor
Subs: Cuidicini, Huddlestone, Lennon, Defoe, The Returning Mr Dembele, Dawson, Livermore
Ref: F Teixeira (Spain)
Paul will be here shortly …
In the meantime, here's the latest from Rome, where Tottenham fans were attacked last night in the build-up to the game:
A Tottenham Hotspur fan has been seriously injured and several others hurt after being attacked by Ultras in Rome. The trouble flared ahead of Thursday night's Europa League game against Lazio in the Italian capital.
The supporters were drinking in the Drunken Ship pub in the historic Campo de Fiori at 1am on Thursday morning when up to 50 attackers – wearing motorcycle helmets and brandishing weapons including knuckle-dusters, broken bottles, and baseball bats – smashed their way in.
Sources named four of the injured as Ashley Mills, Dave Lesley, Stephen Tierney and Christopher Allen. Mr Mills is said to have been stabbed and was seriously ill in the city's San Camillo Hospital. Two tourists are also thought to have been hurt; police said a Californian and a Bangladeshi were injured.
A spokesman for the mayor's office said the attack was "obviously organised". The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported scenes of "urban warfare" as the Ultras – notorious Italian football thugs – attacked the English fans. The bar was wrecked and one witness told La Repubblica: "We feared the worst."
The landlord Marco Manzi said the Tottenham fans were well behaved before the violence erupted. "The bar was full of about 30 English supporters at 1am," he said. "Most of them were aged between 40 and 50 and they were well behaved.
"Then arrived what I presume were Italian supporters wearing scooter helmets with their faces covered with scarves carrying stones and rocks. They arrived in the pub and they attacked the English supporters.
"Some of the English supporters tried to escape down Via dei Cappellari and it was in this street where one of them was hit by a knife. I think he was quite badly hurt but I don't know any more about him.
"The whole operation from start to finish was over in around 10 minutes. Most of the fans left and the police arrived."