Pavlyuchenko hands Tottenham important lifeline in Switzerland

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Roman Pavlyuchenko struck seven minutes from time to hand Tottenham the initiative heading into the second leg of their Champions League play-off encounter with Young Boys.

The Swiss minnows will take a 3-2 lead into the second leg at White Hart Lane, but Tottenham will fancy their chances of making the group stages of the competition after battling back from falling three goals down inside the opening 28 minutes of the first leg.

Senad Lulic, Henri Bienvenu and Xavier Hochstrasser fired Young Boys into a largely unexpected lead on a plastic pitch that Harry Redknapp’s team took a while to get to grips with.

They failed to play with the same intensity which saw them batter Manchester City in a 0-0 draw in their Premier League opener and only when Sebastien Bassong headed one back three minutes before the break did they really settle into the game.

Spurs rode their luck at times in the second half as the Bern side missed some gilt-edged chances to restore their three-goal cushion and were made to pay for their wastefulness when Pavlyuchenko found the top corner late on.

Tottenham now only need a 1-0 at home to secure their passage into the group stages and are valued at 33/1 to win the Champions League for the first time in their history.

Ahead of their return leg next Wednesday, Tottenham remain on the road for an away trip to Stoke in the Premier League.

They won the corresponding fixture 2-1 last season and are 11/10 to collect the three points again.

A repeat of the 2-1 scoreline in Tottenham’s favour is 7/1, although Stoke won the game at White Hart Lane 1-0 and this result is 8/1.

Do you fancy an English team to win the Champions League? Manchester United and Chelsea are both 6/1.

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