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#Men'sFirstTeam #EuropaConferenceLeague #MatchReport #StadeRennais #Pierre-EmileHojbjerg

Hojbjerg rescues a point in tough Stade Rennais clash - report and reaction

Stade Rennais 2-2 Spurs

Thu 16 September 2021, 19:46|Tottenham Hotspur

A lively encounter in France saw us open up our UEFA Europa Conference League with an entertaining 2-2 draw against Stade Rennais.

Having gone ahead through an own goal early on, the hosts turned the game on its head and led 2-1 in the second half but we only trailed for four minutes before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg poked home from close range to earn us a share of the Group G spoils at Roazhon Park.

It was another testing night for us though, as we lost Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura to injury and we had to show plenty of character in front of a partisan home crowd to pick up a point.

We dominated possession in the opening minutes and were rewarded with the opening goal. A lovely move involving Tanguy Ndombele, birthday boy Oliver Skipp and Harry Kane saw Lucas released down the right flank and his low cross was turned into his own net by Loic Bade. But the hosts came back strongly and had already gone close a couple of times before Flavien Tait curled past Pierluigi Gollini from the edge of the area for the equaliser.

The second half was quite an open affair with both sides fashioning chances and it was Rennes who went ahead when Kamaldeen Sulemana’s low shot was parried away by Gollini but only into the path of Gaetan Laborde following in, who tapped into an empty net on 72 minutes. We hit back just four minutes later though, Matt Doherty’s cross deflecting off Tait and landing perfectly for Hojbjerg, who applied a neat left-footed finish from eight yards out to make it 2-2.

Laborde dragged a shot wide in the closing stages while Joe Rodon – making his European club debut – headed well wide in stoppage time as neither side wanted to settle for a draw, but that proved to be the final outcome.

The match was a landmark one for Kane, who captained the team on the night, as it was his 65th appearance for the Club in Europe, overtaking the previous record held by former legendary skipper Steve Perryman.

Lads battle back to draw

This was arguably our most difficult game in the group against a side which was playing Champions League football last season, so the draw wasn’t too bad a result on a tough night. The home side had the better chances over the course of the game but we dug in and stayed in the game, Hojbjerg’s equaliser so soon after we fell behind proving a key moment.

It was a wonderfully-worked goal to open the scoring, if a little fortunate at the end. Ndombele’s superb backheel on half-way took out two Rennes players and found Skipp who laid off to Kane and his excellent first time ball sent Lucas away down the right. He burst into the area and sent over a low cross which flicked off Bade and ended up in the back of the net.

With a lively crowd behind them, Rennes responded well and 19 minutes in, Benjamin Bourigeuad’s shot from the edge of the area was saved by Gollini, the rebound popped up to Adrien Truffert but he could only head the loose ball over the crossbar. Four minutes later they were level, Tait playing a one-two with Sehrou Guirassy on the edge of the area and curling home right-footed.

Bergwijn had to leave the action on 30 minutes with an injury, replaced by Hojbjerg, and Rennes were on top at that stage. Excellent defending from Ben Davies prevented a second goal as he got in front of Bourigeuad inside the six-yard box to deny him a clear opportunity, while we hit our first shot on target of the half on 42 minutes, Kane’s drive from 15 yards out down the right channel needing a good save from Romain Salin.

Early in the second period Ndombele – playing his first game of the season – played a one-two with Kane, chopped inside the defender but Salin was quick off his line to thwart him, while at the other end Guirassy poked wide from close range under pressure from Rodon. It was a very stop-start opening to the second period with free-kicks and injuries stopping the flow of the game while we were forced into a substitution following an injury to Lucas. He was replaced by Dane Scarlett and we swapped Kane for Emerson Royal at the same time.

The home side carved out a couple of chances but Kamaldeen Sulemana headed well over and Gaetan Laborde put his shot over the bar, while we had an opportunity at the other end but Hojbjerg’s volley was saved by Salin.

Just seconds later though, Rennes went in front thanks to Laborde’s close-range finish but our response was immediate as Hojbjerg capitalised on Doherty’s deflected cross to restore parity.

With 10 minutes remaining, Guirassy chested a cross into the path of Laborde but he dragged wide from 18 yards and, as we kept pushing for a winner ourselves, the closest we came was Rodon’s wayward header.

In the other game in the group, Vitesse won 2-0 away to Slovenian side NS Mura, who are our next opponents in the competition in a home tie at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

French struggles continue in Brittany

This was our sixth European away fixture against a French side and we are still yet to win in France, having now recorded four draws and two defeats. This was the first time we had scored more than one goal in an away game in France.

Nuno Espirito Santo made seven changes to the team that started at Crystal Palace on Sunday. In came Gollini, Doherty, Rodon, Davies, Ndombele, Bergwijn and Bryan Gil. Youngsters Tobi Omole, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Nile John, Dilan Markanday and Scarlett were all on the bench.

Reaction on Spurs TV

'We have a lot of things to improve but the attitude was correct'

Head Coach Nuno said afterwards: "The guys did everything. It was a tough match. I think we started really well, played well, then second balls, something we have to improve... we have a lot of things to improve but the attitude was correct. We controlled the game until the end of the match with players in different positions. That was hard. In that moment, it was huge for us."

Highlights on Spurs TV

Stade Rennais 2-2 Spurs

Stade Rennais (4-4-2): Salin, Traore (c), Aguerd, Bade, Truffert (Meling 79), Bourigeaud, Santamaria (Martin 86), Tait, Sulemana (Ugochukwu 79), Guirassy (Tel 90+2), Laborde. Substitutes (not used): Gomis, Bonet, Abline, Diouf, Assignon, Omari, Tchaouna.

Spurs (4-2-3-1): Gollini, Doherty, Tanganga, Rodon, Davies, Skipp, Ndombele (Dele 79), Bergwijn (Hojbjerg 30), Lucas (Scarlett 54), Bryan, Kane (c) (Royal 54). Substitutes (not used): Lloris, Austin, Omole, Fagan-Walcott, Reguilon, Winks, John, Markanday.

Match data

Goals: Stade Rennais – Tait 23, Laborde 72; Spurs – Bade (OG) 11, Hojbjerg 76.

Yellow cards: Stade Rennais – Martin; Spurs - Bryan.

Referee: Halis Özkahya (Turkey).

Venue: Roazhon Park.

Weather: Partly cloudy, 22 degrees.