Clint Dempsey got his first start in a Spurs uniform and thought he had his first goal in the 22nd minute, only to see it controversially ruled offside as Tottenham Hotspur settled for a scoreless draw with Lazio in their Europa League opener at White Hart Lane.
Dempsey looked to have opened his Spurs’ account in the 22nd minute, after he snuck behind his defender towards the far post to score on a cross from Gareth Bale with a diving header. Though the former New England Revolution star appeared to be in line with the final defender on replays, he was ruled offside on the play.
“I thought I was level with the line,” Dempsey told ESPN. “It was a good ball from Bale, and as it went in I thought I’d opened my account but it was waved offside. That’s the way it goes sometimes. They defended well, set up to counterattack and were tough to break down. But we had some chances and were unlucky not to get the goal tonight.”
That was the first of three goals Spurs would have disallowed in the match. Dempsey was also involved in the second around the hour mark, springing Gareth Bale free down the left flank with a through ball, before the Welsh international found Jermain Defoe with a square ball in the box that Defoe easily slotted into the net. This time Bale was correctly adjudged to have been in an offside position when Dempsey played the ball.
A few minutes later Dempsey was again in the thick of things, getting shoved down in the box by Miroslav Klose on a set piece, but no penalty call was forthcoming from the referee.
The Spurs third disallowed goal came when Steven Caulker headed in a Gareth Bale corner kick in the 70th minute, only to have it called back for a questionable foul call.
Dempsey was substituted out of the match in the 76th minute.
After the draw, Tottenham (0-0-1, 1 point) sit in a tie for second place in Europa League J. Slovenian club Maribor (1-0-0, 3 points) sits in first after a surprise 3-0 win over Greek side Panathinaikos.
Tottenham (1-1-2, 5 points) currently are in 10th place in the Premier League.
Tottenham returns to Premier League action with a home match against Queens Park Rangers on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET. Spurs next Europa League match is Oct. 4 at Panathinaikos.