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Defoe fires scintillating treble

The renaissance of Jermain Defoe continues apace.

A striker once consigned to the periphery at Tottenham turned in a bravura performance in his leading role, scoring a consummate hat-trick that rekindled his club's Europa League ambitions and underlined his own reputation as one of England's most lethal centre-forwards.

The relief on the face of Andre Villas-Boas, beleaguered after a series of poor results for his side, was unmistakable.

One could argue that Defoe's display was a revelation. But then he has possessed these devilish finishing instincts since he was a teenager -- only now, as one of Villas-Boas' chosen ones, is he beginning to show them regularly.

His goals here were all wonderfully taken, reflecting his burgeoning dynamic with Gareth Bale, and more than good enough to vanquish Slovenian champions Maribor.

After three successive Europa League draws, Tottenham's position in Group J now looks a good deal more secure.

At the final whistle, in one corner of the ground, there was even a chorus repeating the manager's name. The noise was faint, but significant nonetheless. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent