Rennes 2-2 Tottenham: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s late leveller spares Spurs blushes but Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn limp off for north Londoners
- Tottenham were held to a 2-2 draw by Rennes in the Europa Conference League
- Spurs took the lead when Lucas Moura’s shot deflected in off Loic Bade
- Flavien Tait’s curling effort and Gaeten Laborde’s tap-in put Rennes in front
- Pierre Emile Hojbjerg’s poacher effort earned Nuno Espirito Santo’s side a point
- Attackers Moura and Steven Bergwijn limped off for Tottenham in either half
So much for this being a third-rate tournament no one cared about, littered with teams no one has heard of.
Try telling that to Rennes, and to Nuno Espirito Santo, whose Tottenham squad hobbled across The Channel already depleted and will limp home even more battered and bruised.
Not beaten, but safe in the knowledge that these Thursday evenings might not be much fun. This Europa Conference League might have legs, you know. Spurs didn’t help themselves – again they lacked invention and guile.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s (left) late goal earned Spurs a 2-2 Conference League draw at Rennes
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were given a big Conference League workout in Thursday night
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
RENNES (4-3-3): Salin 6.5; Traore 7, Bade 6, Aguerd 6.5, Truffert 7 (Meling 79, 6); Bourigeaud 6.5, Santamaria 6.5 (Martin 86, 6), Tait 8; Laborde 7.5, Guirassy 7.5 (Tel 90), Sulemana 7 (Ugochukwu 90, 6)
Subs not used: Gomis, Bonet, Assignon, Omari, Diouf, Tchaouna, Abline
Goals: Tait 23, Laborde 71
Manager: Bruno Genesio 7
TOTTENHAM (4-2-3-1): Gollini 5; Doherty 6, Tanganga 6, Rodon 6.5, Davies 6.5; Ndombele 6.5 (Alli 79, 6), Skipp 6; Lucas 6 (Royal 54, 6), Bergwijn 6 (Hojbjerg 30, 7), Gil 5; Kane 6 (Scarlett 54, 6.5)
Subs not used: Lloris, Austin, Omole, Fagan-Walcott, Reguilon, Winks, John, Markanday
Goals: Bade OG 11, Hojbjerg 76
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo 6
Referee: Halis Ozkahya 6
They were second best to a side who rose to this opening night. But who, let’s not forget, sit 11th in Ligue 1. Together with their supporters, Rennes created a fierce atmosphere in which Spurs nearly wilted.
While the home crowd lit up red flares, Nuno must have pondered finding a white flag. Only Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s late equaliser stopped this punishing evening being compounded by a humiliating defeat.
Already without Son Heung-min, Eric Dier and Ryan Sessegnon through injury, they lost Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura here, too.
‘It feels painful, it feels really bad,’ said Nuno, who is unsure if either will be fit for Sunday.
At least it’s only Chelsea. Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero and Davinson Sanchez can’t return from their Croatian naughty step quick enough.
And to think, for a few minutes after Loic Bade’s early own goal, this threatened to be a straightforward evening. Instead Rennes deservedly turned the game around through Flavien Tait and Gaetan Laborde before Hojbjerg’s late rescue act. ‘It’s been terrible,’ Nuno added on their injury list.
‘That will make us stronger for the future.’ It didn’t help much last night.
Rennes’ Ultras gave Spurs a deafening welcome with Brittany’s version of ‘Land of My Fathers’ and then unfurled a vast tifo up their ‘Celtic Kop’ – one of several nods to this regions’ heritage.
‘Are you ready to fight,’ it asked. Luckily Nuno picked a strong side, led by Harry Kane and including Tanguy Ndombele. On his first start since April, the Frenchman provided some immediate spark and helped create Spurs’ opener.
Hounded towards the touchline, Ndombele tried a backheel which sent him tumbling but nevertheless reached Oliver Skipp. He fed Kane, who found Moura, whose effort was deflected in. But Rennes would not roll over.
Spurs lost both Lucas Moura (middle) and Steven Bergwijn to injuries in either half in France
Tottenham took the lead when Lucas Moura’s (right) shot deflected in off Loic Bade
Flavien Tait curled in a wonderful first-half leveller for Rennes in north west France
They had several sniffs at goal before Tait brilliantly curled past Pierluigi Gollini from the edge of the box. Thereafter, the first half made for painful viewing for the 150-odd Spurs fans here.
They lost Bergwijn – only just back from injury – after half an hour and it was they who reached half-time thankful to be level. Spurs emerged back into the fog of pyrotechnics and, in fairness, did clear their heads.
They regained a foothold and Ndombele almost created a second after a neat one-two with Kane, only to be denied by goalkeeper Romain Salin.
Gaeten Laborde tapped the French side late in the second-half to worry Nuno Espirito Santo
Hojbjerg steered home Matt Doherty’s deflected cross to earn the north Londoners a point
But Nuno was forced into another re-jig nine minutes after the break when Moura went lame and Kane made way for teenager Dane Scarlett.
Rennes always looked the more likely and with 19 minutes left they took the lead, Laborde turning the ball home after Gollini’s save from Kamaldeen Sulemana fell his way.
Fortunately for Spurs, a gift of their own appeared soon after. Matt Doherty’s cross deflected kindly to Hojbjerg, who shushed the crowd and helped Spurs avoid more damage.