Tottenham missed the chance to take a lead to Florence in their Europa League last 32 tie after Fiorentina came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane.
Spurs started the game impressively and Spanish striker Roberto Soldado ended a ten-game scoring drought when he swept home a volley from Paulinho's corner. However, despite dominating the opening half hour, centre-back Jose Maria Basanta finished from close range after Hugo Lloris had saved a Matias Fernandez free-kick.
Fiorentina, fourth place in Serie A, well worth their draw after a tactical switch from coach Vincenzo Montella resulted in the Italians being much more competitive in the second half. Winger Joaquin and on-loan Chelsea attacker Mo Salah both caused plenty of trouble for the Spurs backline as tiredness set in.
After Soldado's goal on six minutes it looked like Mauricio Pochettino's team would continue their good recent form and put the game, and the tie, out of sight. £26 million striker Soldado went close with an instinctive over head kick, and even after the visitors equaliser Nacer Chadli hit the underside of the bar after Soldado's flicked header had been saved by Ciprian Tatarusanu.
Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker were getting plenty of opportunity down Spurs' right flank, but after Joaquin was switched to that flank in the second half the England internationals found it harder to get forward and expose the left side of Fiorentina's three man defence.
The reluctance to deliver the kind of early crosses that had worked so well in the first half did not help matters, nor did the tiring of Paulinho and Nabil Bentaleb in the middle of the Lilywhite midfield. Whereas in the first half Spurs had picked their way with ease through the Fiorentina midfield, the tables were turned in the second half.
Although Fiorentina had plenty of efforts in the second half Lloris did not make a save of note in the final 45 minutes, although he did have to keep on his toes and efforts flew narrowly wide.
With West Ham visiting White Hart Lane on Sunday, and the Capital One Cup final the following week, Pochettino might have hoped he could put out a team full of fringe players in the second leg bu if he wants Tottenham to progress the likes of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Erik Lamela might have to play four times in little over eleven days.
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