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Double injury woe ahead of derby as Tottenham labour to Europa point

Tottenham fought back to earn a 2-2 draw with Rennes in their opening Europa Conference League Group G clash but suffered a couple of worrying injuries in an indifferent display.

An own goal gave them the lead but they needed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s effort deep in the second half to come away with a point. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were looking to bounce back after suffering their first Premier League defeat of the season to Crystal Palace at the weekend. The Portuguese tactician made seven changes after the Eagles loss.

Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp, Harry Kane and Lucas Moura were the only players to remain in the starting XI. Pierluigi Gollini got the nod in goal, with Joe Rodon and Bryan Gil also handed a start.

Son Heung-min and Eric Dier did not travel to France with one eye on the upcoming Chelsea clash. The duo were fitness doubts and were rested with Sunday’s London derby in mind.

They were also without Argentina’s Giovani lo Celso and Cristian Romero plus Colombia’s Davinson Sanchez.

Spurs were lively early on, with Tanguy Ndombele enjoying a few touches including a shot that was blocked. And he was instrumental in the goal that gave the visitors the lead on 11 minutes.

The France star’s backheel from the halfway line set Harry Kane free who in turn found Lucas Moura. The Brazilian’s shot deflected in off Loic Bade for an own goal to put Nuno’s side 1-0 up.


— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 16, 2021

Rennes responded immediately, with Adrien Truffert heading over the rebound from Benjamin Bourigeaud’s initial shot. That was a warning sign and the home side duly equalised on 23 minutes through Flavien Tait.

The midfielder found some space on the edge of the box before curling his shot past Gollini. The goal lifted Rennes who looked the more likely to score as the half progressed.

Things got worse for Nuno’s side as Steven Bergwijn picked up an injury and was replaced by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on 30 minutes. The hosts seemed untroubled, with Kane barely getting a look in.

But the England skipper did manage a shot three minutes before the interval. However, from a tight angle, Romain Salin gathered with ease.

It was far from vintage stuff from Spurs and they failed to push on after the early goal. The Ligue 1 outfit were good value for a share of the spoils after the first 45 minutes.

The north Londoners were unchanged for the second period but would have been looking to up their game. However, Moura suffered and ankle injury after 48 minutes that required treatment and left him hobbling.

He lasted a few minutes before being replaced by Emerson Royal.

Tottenham respond well

Ndombele then worked his magic, playing a neat one-two with Kane only for Salin to anticipate well and snuff out the chance. That was the striker’s final act of the match as he was replaced by Dane Scarlett.


— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 16, 2021

Ndombele was the one bright spark for Tottenham and looked busy as the match progressed. Gil wasted several good opportunities to cross from the left as the frustration began to build for the away side.

Urged on by manager Bruno Genesio, Rennes created a couple of chances without really troubling Gollini.

Hojbjerg then tried his luck from distance but his tame effort was straight at the keeper. And Spurs found themselves behind on 72 minutes as Gaetan Laborde tapped home the rebound after Kamaldeen Sulemana’s shot was saved.

The lead lasted just four minutes as Nuno’s men hit back in style. Matt Doherty’s cross was met by Hojbjerg, who poked it home to level affairs.

Both sides huffed and puffed looking for a winner but it remained 2-2; a fair result on the balance of play. Nuno will now have to assess his injured stars with the Blues next up in the capital.

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