Spurs lucky to survive Shamrock scare

    Spurs striker Roman Pavyluchenko equalized for the English Premier League side.

    Story highlights

    • Tottenham Hotspur beat Irish champions Shamrock Rovers 3-1 in the Europa League
    • Spurs had gone behind to the part-timers
    • Elsewhere Celtic drew 1-1 with Italy's Udinese
    • Big-spending PSG lost 2-0 to struggling Athletic Bilbao
    English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur eased past Irish champions Shamrock Rovers in their Europa League Group A match, but only after surviving a massive scare against the part-timers.
    Despite dominating first half possession, Spurs found Rovers goalkeeper Richard Brush in fine form and pulled off a string of stunning saves including one point-blank effort against England international Jermain Defoe.
    Yet it was Shamrock Rovers -- whose total yearly budget is just 600,000 euros ($815,000), equivalent to a month's wages for one of Tottenham's top stars -- who took the lead early in the second half in front of their boisterous support when Pat Sullivan's stinging shot was deflected in by Stephen Rice.
    Suddenly Spurs, who had rested many of their first team players, were forced to find an answer to Rovers' impudence.
    And it came in brutal fashion.
    Stung into action Spurs scored three goals in six minutes; Roman Pavyluchenko, Jermain Defoe and Giovani dos Santos extinguishing any hopes of a fairytale ending.
    Elsewhere Serie A side Udinese had to rely on a late, controversial penalty to grab an away draw against Scotland's Celtic in Group I.
    The Glasgow club had taken a first half lead through their own penalty, scored by South Korean striker Ki Sung-Yeung before Almen Abdi leveled from the spot late on.
    But the match of the round, on paper at least, took place in Group F in the Basque country as Athletic Bilbao, struggling in Spain's La Liga, took on big-spending Paris Saint Germain.
    PSG, who were taken over by a Qatari consortium in the summer, had been in good form going into the match but Bilbao coach Marco Bielsa masterminded a shock 2-0 victory.