Kevin Bond has paid tribute to Carlo Cudicini, after the Italian stopper turned in a scintillating performance as Tottenham fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Rubin Kazan in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night.

The 38-year-old pulled off a string of fine saves but could do little about the moment of magic produced by Bebras Natcho, who curled in a wonderful free-kick in the 55th minute to give the Russian side a vital victory and condemn Spurs to their first defeat of the competition.

"Carlo was wonderful, absolutely fantastic," confirmed Bond, who remained upbeat after taking control of first-team affairs in the absence of Harry Redknapp.

"We know our goalkeepers are all good goalkeepers and he turned in a really brilliant display. They had a few opportunities and he was there for us when we needed him.

"He lives his life so professionally, always prepares himself well so when he's picked to play or needs to come off the bench he's always totally prepared [and] he performed heroically at times for us."

The loss means Tottenham are yet to confirm their place in the final-32, but Sebastien Bassong - who was at fault for the goal after conceding the foul which gave the Russian's victory - is confident in the squad's ability to achieve qualification.

"We can still finish top of the group," he said. "There are two games left. We'll get the chance to put things right.

"We've got a strong squad and quality players so there is no reason why we can't finish first or second."

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