Spurs ease into knockout stages
Late strikes eased a tense atmosphere at White Hart Lane as Tottenham survived a second-half fightback to beat Panathinaikos and progress to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League.
Emmanuel Adebayor put Tottenham ahead just before the half hour, but the Greeks, who have never won in Britain, played the better football and deservedly equalised through Zeca just after the re-start.
Panathinaikos, knowing victory was their only means of qualifying for the knockout stages, threw everything at Tottenham and looked the more likely to score before Clint Dempsey - whose shot went in after hitting both the bar and keeper Orestis Karnezis - and Jermain Defoe settled the game late on.
Andre Villas-Boas will sleep easier tonight knowing his team are one step closer to lifting the cup that he won with Porto in 2010.
Lazio's drubbing of Maribor means Villas-Boas' men qualify second from Group J, with a potential UEFA Champions League drop-out awaiting them in the second round.
The raucous chanting from the travelling Panathinaikos fans provided the only entertainment in the opening stages as both teams started slowly on a bitterly cold night in north London. Panathinaikos had only beaten an English team once in their history, but they looked the more likely to break the deadlock in the first 15 minutes.
Toche, whose goal earned Panathinaikos a point in the reverse fixture two months ago, sprinted on to an Ibrahim Sissoko through-ball, but he mis-controlled the pass and Brad Friedel gathered easily. The Spaniard then slipped his marker to meet Giourkas Seitaridis' cross, but he could only shoot weakly at the Spurs stopper.
Spurs were struggling to get into the game and were missing the influence of Gareth Bale, who was absent due to a hamstring injury.
Out of nowhere, Emmanuel Adebayor spun off his marker to collect Dempsey's through ball and slot past Karnezis after a cushioned touch.
Tottenham struggled to get out of first gear despite the goal. Indeed, Panathinaikos came back at the Londoners through Toche, who beat the offside trap but Friedel raced off his line to claw the ball away.
Sandro and Defoe both cleared the bar with wayward shots as the half drew to a close and Tom Carroll then slipped in Adebayor, but his shot was blocked by Kostas Triantafyllopoulos.
Brighter Spurs for the second half
Tottenham came out with renewed purpose in the second half and were unlucky not to score their second three minutes after the re-start. Dempsey fed Defoe with a clever pass, but the England striker's shot struck the foot of a post before bouncing to safety.
Panathinaikos then stunned the home side with a 54th-minute equaliser. Poor marking from Walker allowed Zeca to meet Nikos Spyropoulos' cross and he beat Friedel with a clinical header.
The Greeks, willed on by their vocal support, continued to pressure Spurs, who were playing nervously.
Dempsey then settled the home fans' nerves with Tottenham's second. Completely against the run of play, Sandro earned a free-kick 25 yards out after a foul by Zeco. Walker swung in a deep cross from the set-piece and Dempsey's header struck the bar before bouncing in off the keeper.
Any hopes of an unlikely Panathinaikos comeback were dashed with seven minutes left when Defoe latched on to Aaron Lennon's pass and chipped the ball over Karnezis.
The goals knocked the stuffing out of the visitors, but their fans continued chanting as a relieved Spurs team took their foot off the accelerator and claimed all three points to progress.