Tottenham came from behind to draw 2-2 in their opening Europa Conference League Group G game at Rennes, but it was a costly evening as they suffered more injury problems.
In their toughest looking assignment of the inaugural third-tier European club competition, they went ahead through Loic Bade’s early own goal before the French team hit back either side of half-time through Flavian Tait and Gaetan Laborde.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s leveller earned Spurs a point, but Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura limped off and with a Premier League match against Chelsea in 72 hours, their attacking numbers look short.
Son Heung-min is already facing a race against time to be fit with a calf injury while Giovani Lo Celso does not get back from his quarantine camp in Croatia until Saturday, leaving Nuno Espirito Santo with a headache.
One man who might have forced his way into Nuno’s plans was Tanguy Ndombele, who was give his first appearance of the season after asking to leave in the summer.
It did not take Ndombele long to show Nuno what he was capable of as a sublime piece of skill created an 11th-minute opener for Spurs which capped an impressive opening.
Yards away from his manager in front of the technical area, the Frenchman produced an audacious off-balance back-heel to set a counter-attack going. Oliver Skipp passed to Harry Kane, whose incise first-time ball put Moura in clear and the Brazilian’s attempted cross was deflected into his own net by Bade.
That was as good as it got for Tottenham as Rennes began to take control of the game.
They should have had a leveller soon after as Benjamin Bourigeaud’s shot was beaten away by Pierluigi Gollini into the path of Adrien Truffert, but the left-back could not keep his header at an open goal down and it went over the crossbar.
Spurs did not get away with it for much longer as Tait levelled in the 22nd minute.
The midfielder played a one-two with Serhou Guirassy, left Ndombele and then curled a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Nuno’s side were on the rack and things got even worse when Bergwijn, back from an ankle injury, went off after appearing to suffer a recurrence.
Hojbjerg’s arrival steadied the ship and Spurs got through to half-time without suffering further damage.
Their plans went further array early in the second half as Moura limped off and was joined by Harry Kane, who was also taken off in a seemingly planned substitution with the Chelsea game in mind.
With them went Tottenham’s best chance of winning and they found themselves 2-1 down in the 72nd minute.
Rennes attacked down their left and Gollini spilled a low shot from Kamaldeen Sulemana, with Laborde enjoying the easiest of tap-ins.
With 17-year-old Dane Scarlett leading the line, Spurs could have wilted, but they found a leveller four minutes later.
Matt Doherty’s cross was deflected kindly into the path of Hojbjerg and the Dane poked home from close range as the points were shared in France.