A second-half penalty from Mathieu Valbuena helped seal a draw for Olympiacos in their opening group B game with Tottenham. The London side had been two nil up just before the break but were forced to settle for a point.
It marked the first point won by English clubs in this seasons campaign but given their advantage, they expected more. They had a dismal start last year but managed to scrape through in the end. They could have done with a more positive result but at least they know they can improve.
Mauricio Pochettino decided to make a few alterations. Tanguy Ndombele was introduced in favour of Moussa Sissoko. Lucas Moura started ahead of Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli made his first start. Davinson Sanchez was entrusted to start at right-back after issues with Serge Aurier. Much was expected of the Greek’s Daniel Podence, their recent signing from Sporting Lisbon.
The first shot in anger came from the Portuguese winger. Torres De Santos played the ball into space that was left vacant by Ben Davis. Podence raced on to it and cracked off a shot from about 16 yards. Lloris was equal to it, however.
He had another effort a few minutes later which took a deflection. At the other end, Borges Semedo then was able to cut out a pass by Harry Kane designed for Lucas Moura.
Tottenham were finding that passes were unable to stick at this stage. Christian Eriksson was guilty of misdirecting a pass that ended up going to the goalkeeper, instead of finding Moura. He then was only able to find the last man back instead of picking out Kane.
The home side came close to an opening in a wonderful move. Podence switched play from left to right, Kostantinos Tsimikas sent over a cross and Podence came forward to knock it down to Guerreo.
He hammered a volley towards goal, but it smacked off the post. It would have been a deserved lead for their bright start.
They received a shock when Tottenham gained the lead. Kane received the ball on the edge of the area.
He strode towards the goal and went down under the challenge of Yassine Meriah. He steadied himself to put them in front.
But then they went further in front. Davies collected a pass designed for Podence and drove forward. He played it inside to Moura who skipped past his man before planting a fierce drive into the net.
Just before half-time, the hosts got a lifeline. Podence played a one-two with Valbuena before firing a shot into the bottom corner. It had followed a period of pressure from them. And the ideal time to have scored as well.
No changes at the break came forth and the away team aimed to stretch their advantage. Dele Alli and Eriksen begun to get on the ball more than in the previous half.
The former played in the former who slotted the ball into the corner. He was flagged already for being offside. It offered promise that their key players were coming back into the game.
But then events switched up again. Eriksen was caught in possession led to Jan Vertonghen fouling his opposition number.
Valbuena dusted himself to score past Lloris. Tottenham may have counted themselves fortunate to have been two ahead, now found themselves level again.
Ndombele tried to get in front again but his effort from a corner was saved by Jose Sa. The keeper was then busy yet again to deny Alli.
The ball landed at his feet after a deflection. He decided to shoot from a tight angle which Sa dealt with his feet. Kane was screaming for a pass inside though.
Sanchez at the other end, was busy with two consecutive headers to clear potential danger.
Podence was keeping himself, and Davies, busy. He received a pass from Omar Elbadellaoui before beating the Welshman for pace. He picked out Guerreo who was unable to keep his shot down.
Tottenham exerted more pressure as the game begun to wear down. The injection of fresh legs up front, and tiring bodies in the home defence, saw them create a few chances. They were little more than half-chances though and went for nothing.
The Greeks were delighted to hear the final whistle as their impressive home record remained intact.
Their next game is away to Red Star Belgrade, while Spurs are back in London to play Bayern Munich.
Napoli: Jose Sa; Omar Elbadellaoui, Borges Semedo, Yassine Meriah, Kostantinos Tsimikas, Guilherme Dos Santos Torres, Andreas Bouchalakis, Giorgos Masouras (Lazar Randjelovic), Mathieu Valbuena (Yassine Benzia), Daniel Podence, Guerrero (Youssef El-Arabi)
Subs not used: Mohamed Camara, Bobby Allain, Avraam Papadopoulos, Vasilis Torosidis
Booked: Dos Santos.
Sent off: None.
Tottenham: Hugo Lloris; Davinson Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies, Harry Winks, Tanguy Ndombele (Moussa Sissoko), Lucas Moura (Erik Lamela), Christian Eriksson, Dele Alli (Son Heung-Min), Harry Kane.
Subs not used: Victor Wanyama, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker-Peters, Paulo Gazzziniga.
Booked: Harry Winks.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Daniel Podence.