The new Europa Conference League had a sprinkling of stardust Thursday as Harry Kane played in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Rennes and Jose Mourinho’s Roma beat CSKA Sofia in the opening games of the group stage.
The new third-tier European tournament could allow Mourinho to complete a career treble after previously winning the Champions League and Europa League.
In UEFA’s second-level Europa League, West Ham beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in its first European game for five years and Leicester drew 2-2 with Napoli.
EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE
Tottenham was second-best for much of the game against Rennes after taking an early lead when Lucas Moura’s deflected cross was knocked into the net by Rennes’ Loic Bade. Rennes hit back with a goal from Flavien Tait and took the lead when Gaetan Laborde scored in the 72nd minute, but Tottenham leveled soon after through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The draw was overshadowed by injuries for Tottenham as Moura and Steven Bergwijn both went off hurt. The team is already dealing with a calf problem for South Korean forward Son Heung-min ahead of playing Chelsea on Sunday. Tottenham has also been without three players who are in quarantine after traveling to South America for national-team games.
“It’s been terrible. I must be honest. Let’s not hide behind anything,” Tottenham coach Nuno Espirito Santo said of the personnel situation. “(Bergwijn and Moura) are being taken care of by the medical department. But it’s been tough.”
Roma went a goal down to Bulgarian club CSKA when Irish midfielder Graham Carey scored in the 10th minute but hit back strongly with two goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and one from Stephan El Sharaawy on the way to a 5-1 win. After CSKA forward Yanic Wildschut was sent off for a second yellow card in the 80th, Roma scored twice more.
Germany’s Union Berlin lost 3-1 to Slavia Prague on its European debut after playing the whole second half with 10 men. Gibraltar had its first team in a European group stage as Lincoln Red Imps lost 2-0 at home to Greece’s PAOK.
Roma plays Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia later Thursday. Tottenham and Roma are among the favorites to win the new Europa Conference League, which was set up to give clubs from smaller countries more chances to compete.
Victor Osimhen scored twice for Napoli to surge back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Leicester. The English club was heading for a win before Osimhen headed in his second in the 87th minute. Leicester then had to hang on for a point when midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card.
West Ham earned a comfortable 2-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb after Michail Antonio intercepted a backpass for the opening goal and Declan Rice scored in his 150th game for the club. It was Rice’s European debut for West Ham, which last played in the 2016-17 Europa League.
Galatasaray beat Lazio 1-0 with a bizarre goal when Lazio defender Manuel Lazzari’s attempted clearance shot straight up into the air and goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha fumbled it into his own net as he tried to catch. Real Betis recovered from 2-0 down to beat Celtic 4-3.
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