The new Europa Conference League was dusted with stardust on Thursday as Harry Kane played in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw against Rennes and Jose Mourinho’s Roma beat CSKA Sofia in the opening matches of the phase of groups.
The new third tier European tournament could see Mourinho achieve a career treble after previously winning the Champions League and Europa League.
In the second-tier UEFA Europa League, West Ham beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in their first European game in five years and Leicester drew 2-2 with Napoli.
EUROPEAN CONFERENCES LEAGUE
Tottenham were second best for much of the game against Rennes after taking an early lead when Lucas Moura’s deflected cross was pushed into the net by Rennes’ Loïc Bade. Rennes fought back with a goal from Flavien Tait and took the lead when Gaetan Laborde scored in the 72nd minute, but Tottenham equalized soon after thanks to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The draw was overshadowed by Tottenham’s injuries as Moura and Steven Bergwijn both suffered injuries. The team are already grappling with a calf problem for South Korea striker Son Heung-min ahead of playing against Chelsea on Sunday. Tottenham have also been deprived of three players in quarantine after traveling to South America for national team games.
“It was terrible. I have to be honest. Let’s not hide behind anything, ”Tottenham coach Nuno Espirito Santo said of the staff situation. “(Bergwijn and Moura) are taken care of by the medical service. But it was hard.
Roma scored a goal against Bulgarian club CSKA when Irish midfielder Graham Carey scored in the 10th minute but fought back with two goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and one from Stephan El Sharaawy en route to a 5-1 victory . After CSKA striker Yanic Wildschut was sent off for a second yellow card in the 80th, Roma scored twice more.
Germany’s Union Berlin lost 3-1 to Slavia Prague in their European debut after playing the entire second half with 10 men. Gibraltar had their first team in the European group stage as Lincoln Red Imps lost 2-0 at home to Greeks PAOK.
Roma face Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia later Thursday. Tottenham and Roma are among the favorites to win the new Europa Conference League, which was created to give clubs from smaller countries more chances to compete.
Victor Osimhen scored twice for Napoli to come back two goals short to draw 2-2 with Leicester. The English club were on their way to a win before Osimhen scored his second goal in the 87th minute. Leicester then had to hang on for a point when midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card.
West Ham earned a comfortable 2-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb after Michail Antonio intercepted a backpass for the opening goal and Declan Rice scored in his 150th game for the club. It was Rice’s European debut for West Ham, who last played in the 2016-17 Europa League.
Galatasaray beat Lazio 1-0 with a bizarre goal when Lazio defender Manuel Lazzari’s clearance attempt shot straight into the air and goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha dabbled in his own net as he tried to catch up. Real Betis recovered from 2-0 to beat Celtic 4-3.
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