Tottenham Hotspur played out an eventful draw with Rennes in the Europa Conference League.
Roazhon Park (credit Zakarie Faibis/ Wikimedia Commons)
Tottenham Hotspur began the group stage of the Europa Conference League with an entertaining 2-2 draw at Rennes.
They took an early lead through a Loic Bade own goal but fell behind to strikes from Flavien Tait and Gaetan Laborde before substitute Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg rescued a point.
Spurs dominated possession in the opening stages but could not create clear-cut opportunities.
They took the lead in the 11th minute with their first big chance. Harry Kane received the ball on the half-way line and played a smart ball around the corner into the path of Lucas Moura, who drove forward before delivering a cross which took a big deflection off Loic Bade and spun into the net.
Rennes immediately started to show more attacking intent. In the 19th minute Benjamin Bourigeaud hit a fierce shot that was saved by Pierluigi Gollini. Adrien Truffert reached the rebound but could only head over the bar from point-blank range.
Rennes starting to cause problems for the Spurs defence and it came as no surprise when they got the equaliser. In the 23rd minute Tait played a one-two with Serhou Guirassy and sent a curling effort from the edge of the penalty area into the bottom corner.
Spurs were struggling to deal with the intensity of the resurgent French side who were roared on by a vociferous home support.
Marauding left-back Truffert found himself in the Tottenham box and crossed towards Bourigeaud but Ben Davies did just enough to get ahead of him and allow Gollini to collect.
With 33 minutes gone, Tait won the ball back off Matt Doherty and played the ball infield to Bourigeaud who hit a shot that was well off target.
Spurs had a rare foray forward in the 42nd minute when Doherty collected a cross field pass and laid the ball off to Kane, who took a few touches before hitting a shot that was punched away by Roman Salin.
In additional time in the first half Hamari Traore put in an excellent cross into the box which was missed by Laborde but fell towards Kamaldeen Sulemana, whose diving header went well wide.
Five minutes into the second half Tanguy Ndombele played a one-two with Harry Kane then nutmegged a defender and was closing in on goal but Salin quickly came off his line and forced him to shoot wide.
The second half was a stop-start affair, with the number of fouls and substitutions disrupting the flow of the game.
Bryan Gil found some space on the left flank and delivered a cross towards substitute Dane Scarlett but Nayef Aguerd did enough to force the striker to head off target.
An errant back pass from Rennes fell to Hojbjerg in the area but his effort was straight at Salin.
Spurs were punished for this miss a minute later. Sulemana cut inside off the left flank and hit an effort which Gollini saved but the keeper could only push the ball out to Laborde who was presented with a tap in.
However, Tottenham were not behind for long. In the 75th minute Doherty collected the ball in an ocean of space on the right and delivered a cross which was pushed into the path of Hojbjerg and the Dane slotted home from close range.
Serhou Guirassy had been a constant threat and he created a good opportunity when he chested the ball down to Laborde in the area but the latter screwed his shot wide.
In the 81st minute Bryan Gil collected a diagonal from Emerson Royal and weaved his way into the box and fired in a low cross that was cleared by the Rennes defence.
The game petered out in the final stages as both teams looked to have run out of energy.
Considering how poorly they had played for large parts of the game, Spurs will gladly take a point. On paper Rennes are the second best side in this group therefore Tottenham should have easier games ahead of them.
Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura both sustained injuries in the game. This will add to what is already a lengthy absentee list. Spurs will need to put in a much-improved display when they host London rivals Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.
Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo speaking in his post-match press conference: “I think we started very well in possession, finding good lines. We scored, then we lost a little bit of control. Rennes is a good team, they caused some problems for us.”
“I think we finished well, we showed a lot of character and belief to change the result after we conceded.”