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Tottenham stunned by Pacos de Ferreira in Conference League

Premier League giants at risk of missing out on group stage of UEFA Europa Conference League

Tottenham Hotspur were at the receiving end of a shock 1-0 defeat to Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira in the first leg of their final UEFA Europa Conference League qualifying playoff round on Thursday.

After securing a brilliant win over an expensively assembled Manchester City side on Sunday in the Premier League, Tottenham faced a modestly assembled Pacos de Ferreira side whose entire starting XI for the game cost just over $24 million in the newly-formed Europa Conference League. Tottenham coach Nuno Espirito Santo opted to leave Harry Kane and his entire starting XI from Sunday’s win in London for the match and handed debuts to all three of his summer signings with Pierluigi Gollini starting in goal, Cristian Romero in defence and Bryan Gil in attack. 17-year-old Dane Scarlett led the line for Tottenham in his first competitive start for the club. Their opponents, Pacos de Ferreira, finished last season in fifth in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, and they were able to show their experience against an inexperienced Tottenham side. The home side got the game’s only goal on the stroke of halftime after a momentary lapse in concentration saw €50 million acquisition Romero lose track of the movement around him and allow Pacos striker Lucas Silva the opportunity to latch onto a through ball and finish smartly beyond the reach of Gollini in the 45th minute.

In the second half, Pacos attempted to play a more conservative style as they dropped deep into two blocks of four in defence and four in midfield to block the passing lanes and alter Spurs’ progression to the final third. Tottenham players were left running around in circles with nowhere to go as the clock ticked away. Ryan Sessegnon got into decent positions a few times, but could not get a clear shot because of the tireless hounding carried out by the Pacos team. At the end of the 90 minutes, Tottenham failed to register a single shot on target against a very disciplined side, going down 1-0 in the first leg.

Tottenham manager Santo would not have a lot to take away from this result as he left most of his first team at home, but he would need to call on them in the second leg next Thursday to prevent the possibility of his side missing out on the group stage of the competition.

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