Tottenham Hotspur survived a testing evening in the Europa Conference League as substitute Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg earned his side a draw in Rennes.
Spurs’ French hosts were always likely to be the toughest test for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in the group stage. And so it proved, with the Ligue 1 outfit causing problems throughout with their high-energy game.
It was Spurs who sparked Rennes into action when they took the lead early on through Lucas Moura’s deflected shot following brilliant work by Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane in the build-up.
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And it didn’t take long for Rennes to equalise in-front of a boisterous home crowd, with Flavien Tait curling home a beautiful shot from the edge of the box.
The home side dominated for much of the remainder of the game, with Tottenham’s game-plan disrupted by ankle injuries to first Steven Bergwijn and then Lucas.
And it was little surprise when they took the lead after goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini’s save was parried straight to the grateful Gaetan Laborde to tuck home.
But Hojbjerg ensured Spurs escaped an embarrassing loss with a neat finish after a cross was deflected into his path.
Talking Point – What’s wrong at Spurs?
Nuno named an attacking line-up to start the match in an attempt to cure some of the creative ills seen against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
But chances didn’t exactly flow for Spurs. Partly that was due to the injuries to Bergwijn and Lucas, but it will still be extremely worrying for the new Tottenham boss that he’s struggling to make his attack tick.
Man of the Match – Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham Hotspur)
It was far from a vintage night for Spurs, who looked short on confidence from the moment Rennes went on the attack after the early goal.
But what moments of encouragement there were came from the French midfielder, who provided a number of sublime touches and was clearly intent to show that he’s also willing to do the running too, chasing down plenty of lost causes.
There’s a lot of work to be done before Ndombele is a regular in the Spurs first XI, but there’s a gem of a player there if Nuno can make it work.
Rennes XI: Salin 7, Traore 8, Bade 7, Aguerd 7, Truffert 7, Santamaria 7, Bourigeaud 8, Laborde 8, Sulemana 8, Tait 8, Guirassy 7. Subs: Meling 7, Ugochukwu 7, Martin 6, Tel 6
Tottenham Hotspur XI: Gollini 5; Doherty 5, Tanganga 7, Rodon 7, Davies 6; Ndombele 8*, Skipp 7; Moura 7, Bergwijn 6, Bryan Gil 6; Kane 6. Subs: Hojbjerg 8, Royal 7, Scarlett 7, Dele 7
Harry Kane (left) and Lucas Moura - Tottenham Hotspur
Image credit: Getty Images
11’ GOAL! – Spurs have the lead and it’s Lucas Moura, courtesy of a huge deflection, that gets it! The move from Tottenham deserved a goal. It started with a brilliant back-heel from Ndombele and then a delightful first-time flicked pass around the corner from Kane set Lucas away. 1-0!
23’ GOAL! – What a goal that is! Super, beautiful interplay on the edge of the box gives Flavien Tait a split-second to look up and pick his spot. And pick his spot he does, curling a lovely shot into the bottom corner to draw Rennes level. 1-1!
29’ – Bergwijn can’t continue. He was caught flush on the ankle by a late challenge and is in a bit of pain, but is at least back on his feet, hobbling around the outside of the pitch as he heads for the tunnel.
47’ – This isn’t great. Lucas is caught late and he’s hurt his ankle here. It looks very unlikely he’ll be able to continue, meaning that both of Spurs’ wide forwards will have been forced off.
65’ – Big chance for Rennes as a whipped cross picks out Sulemana but he can’t get his header on target.
72’ GOAL! – Rennes have the lead and you can’t say it’s undeserved. A Sulemana shot from distance is parried straight back into trouble by Gollini and Laborde tucks home into an empty net. 2-1!
76’ GOAL! – The crowd fall silent as Hojbjerg nips in to turn home into the far corner as a sliced clearance from a Doherty cross loops right into the danger area. 2-2!
Hojbjerg’s equaliser was his first in European competition for Tottenham.
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