AP – The new Europa Conference League had a sprinkling of stardust on 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.
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 levelled soon after.
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 tomorrow (11.30 pm Brunei Time).
Tottenham has also been without three players who are in quarantine after travelling 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. Tottenham and Roma are among the favourites to win the new league, which was set up to give clubs from smaller countries more chances to compete.