Tottenham strikes back to score Rennes point in Europa Conference League


Tottenham Hotspur survived an evening of testing in the Europa Conference League as substitute Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg earned his side a draw at Rennes.

Spurs’ French hosts were always likely to be the toughest test for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in the group stage. And it turned out, with the Ligue 1 team causing issues throughout their high-energy game.

It was the Spurs who encouraged Rennes to take the advantage from the start thanks to a deflected shot from Lucas Moura following the brilliant work of Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane in the preparation.

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And it didn’t take long for Rennes to equalize in front of a boisterous home crowd, with Flavien Tait curling at home a nice shot from the edge of the box.

The home side dominated for much of the rest of the game, with Tottenham’s game plan disrupted by ankle injuries first to Steven Bergwijn and then to Lucas.

And it was no surprise when they took the lead after goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini’s save was parried directly to the grateful Gaetan Laborde to come home.

But Hojbjerg ensured Spurs escaped an embarrassing defeat with a neat finish after a cross was deflected in his way.

Talking Point – What’s wrong with Spurs?

Nuno appointed an offensive lineup to start the game in a bid to cure some of the creative woes seen against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

But the odds have not really flowed for Spurs. This was in part due to the injuries to Bergwijn and Lucas, but it will always be extremely worrying for the new Tottenham boss if he struggles to make his attack work.

Man of the Match – Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham Hotspur)

It was far from a vintage night for Spurs, who seemed strapped for confidence from the moment Rennes went on the attack after the early goal.

But the moments of encouragement came from the French midfielder, who provided a number of sublime touches and clearly intended to show he was ready to run too, chasing many lost causes.

There’s a lot of work to be done before Ndombele is a regular in Spurs’ first XI, but there’s a player gem there if Nuno can make it work.

Player Ratings

Rennes XI: Salin 7, Traoré 8, Bade 7, Aguerd 7, Truffert 7, Santamaria 7, Bourigeaud 8, Laborde 8, Sulemana 8, Tait 8, Guirassy 7. Subscribers: 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. Subtitles: Hojbjerg 8, Royal 7, Scarlett 7, Dele 7

Harry Kane (left) and Lucas Moura – Tottenham Hotspur

Image credit: Getty Images

Key moments

11 ‘GOAL! – The Spurs have the lead and it is Lucas Moura, thanks to a huge deflection, who wins! Tottenham’s transfer deserved a goal. It started with a brilliant back heel from Ndombele, then a delicious first pass to the corner from Kane put Lucas on the sidelines. 1-0!

23 ‘GOAL! – What a goal it is! Wow, nice interaction on the edge of the box gives Flavien Tait a split second to look up and choose his seat. And he chooses his place, wrapping a nice shot in the lower corner to draw the level of Rennes. 1-1!

29 ‘- Bergwijn cannot continue. He’s been caught low to the ankle by a late challenge and is in a bit of pain, but he’s at least back on his feet, hobbling off the pitch as he heads into the tunnel.

47 ‘- It’s not great. Lucas is caught late and he injured his ankle here. It seems highly unlikely that he will be able to continue, which means Spurs’ two broad forwards will have been forced to leave.

65 ‘- Great luck for Rennes as a whipped center selects Sulemana but he fails to score with a header.

72 ‘GOAL! – Rennes has the head and we can not say that it is not deserved. A shot from Sulemana from a distance is parried straight into trouble by Gollini and Laborde comes home in an empty net. 2-1!

76 ‘GOAL! – The crowd falls silent as Hojbjerg moves closer to return home in the far corner as a sharp clearance from a Doherty crossroads passes straight into the danger zone. 2-2!

Key statistic

Hojbjerg’s equalizer was his first in a European competition for Tottenham.

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