Tottenham threw away a two-goal lead as they were forced to settle for a point in their Champions League Group B opener against Olympiakos in Greece.
Two goals in four first-half minutes put Spurs in control, with Harry Kane opening the scoring from the penalty spot before Lucas Moura’s scorching 20-yard finish.
Yet Mauricio Pochettino’s side conceded shortly before half-time through impressive Portuguese winger Daniel Podence’s quality finish.
That lifted the passionate home crowd and Olympiakos equalised from the game’s second penalty, former France forward Mathieu Valbuena beating Hugo Lloris, the current Les Bleus captain, from the spot.
Tottenham’s result means both of last season’s Champions League finalists have failed to win their opening group games, after holders Liverpool were beaten 2-0 by Napoli in Italy on Tuesday.
In Group B’s other game on Wednesday, Bayern Munich beat Red Star Belgrade 3-0 in Germany thanks to goals by Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.
Sloppy Spurs fail to hang on – again
Pochettino’s side showed Herculean spirit to go all the way to the final last season yet were far from their best as they made a shaky return to the competition in the port city of Piraeus.
Having allowed a 2-0 lead to slip against Arsenal in the Premier League on 1 September – again after conceding late at the end of the first half – this is the second time in three games they been left to reflect on what might have been.
With five-time winners Bayern and the unpredictable Red Star, who beat Liverpool last season, also in the group, Pochettino will hope this result does not come back to haunt his side.
Kane won the penalty which led to him breaking the deadlock, the Spurs striker clearly tripped by Tunisia defender Yassine Meriah. Then Moura produced an emphatic finish after Ben Davies marked his return by winning back possession and laying on the pass for the Brazil winger to score an outstanding goal.
On a night of missed opportunities, Kane could have had a hat-trick.
Yet, on two separate occasions, Dele Alli – making his first start of the season – and substitute Erik Lamela decided to go for glory instead of choosing the easier option of squaring to Kane to score.
Away day trouble for Spurs
Having failed to win any of their first three group games last season, Tottenham know a point in Greece could yet prove critical.
Yet they have won just five of their 17 away games in all competitions this calendar year, including an FA Cup tie at then-League Two club Tranmere Rovers.
Since winning 2-1 at Fulham in the league on 20 January, Spurs have managed just two victories on the road – both in Europe, against Borussia Dortmund and Ajax.
It is something of a worry for Pochettino, who heads straight back to England with his squad to prepare for a Saturday lunchtime game at Leicester City.
It could have been worse.
When the game was goalless and during a slow start by the visitors, Olympiakos hit the post through Miguel Angel Guerrero.
That prompted Pochettino to leap out of his seat and make it known from the sidelines that he was not happy by his side’s performance.
His actions had some impact as Spurs raced into a 2-0 lead before being pegged back on a deeply frustrating night.
Man of the match – Daniel Podence (Olympiakos)
Letting it slip – the stats
- This was the second time that Tottenham have failed to win a Champions League game having been two goals ahead – and the first since drawing 2-2 with Werder Bremen in September 2010.
- Since the start of last season, Spurs have conceded more goals than any other side in the Champions League (21).
- Olympiakos are without a win in nine Champions League matches, their longest winless run in the competition.
- Only Ruud van Nistelrooy (19) and Roberto Soldado (19) scored their first 15 Champions League goals in fewer games than Harry Kane (20).
- Lucas Moura scored just his second goal from outside the box for Tottenham in all competitions – and his first since August 2018 against Fulham.
Tottenham are back in Premier League action at 12:30 BST on Saturday when they are at Leicester City, while their next Champions League Group B game is at home to Bayern Munich on 1 October.
|Betfred Super League|
|Hull Kingston Rovers (6) 16|
|Tries: Dagger, Atkin, McGuire Goals: Shaw 2|
|London Broncos (14) 20|
|Tries: Gee, Lamb, Pitts Goals: Dixon 4|
London Broncos won a breathtaking contest as they came from behind to beat Hull KR at Craven Park and take the Super League relegation battle to the final day of the season.
Broncos led 12-0 early on with tries from Matt Gee and Brock Lamb.
Rovers bounced back to lead 16-14 through scores from William Dagger, Chris Atkin and Danny McGuire.
But skipper Jay Pitts scored in the 77th minute, and Kieran Dixon landed his fourth kick to seal the win.
Broncos, promoted back to Super League a year ago, were within three minutes of being relegated. But they now carry the season on to next weekend with all four bottom clubs locked on 20 points.
Huddersfield have the first chance to secure survival if they win at home to Catalans next Friday night.
But then, on the Sunday, Rovers go to top three hopefuls Salford, while Broncos face another crunch away match at ninth-placed Wakefield.
To add to all the drama on a supercharged night of high emotions, referee James Child was asked to put on report an allegation of a racist remark made against Rovers forward Mose Masoe.
Great finish and dream start for Broncos
If the finish was exciting, Broncos got off to the start of their dreams when Australian half-back Lamb inspired them to a 12-0 lead inside nine minutes.
First it was his brilliant pick-up from ankle height and offload to set up Gee for the first try on four minutes before then scoring himself, both converted by Dixon.
Rovers repaired half of the damage by the break when Dagger got over in the right corner, then had the presence of mind to stay on his feet and get round close to the posts for Ryan Shaw to kick the goal.
But Shaw then had a try disallowed before Rovers ended the half with two men lost from their 17-man squad.
After losing Dean Hadley, there was then a 10-minute delay when Masoe steamrollered into an attempted tackle which ended up laying out his own team-mate Jimmy Keinhorst, who had to be taken off on a stretcher.
It was roles reversed after the break as Rovers this time made the electric start.
Atkin’s converted try brought the hosts level for the first time before Dagger’s offload allowed the overlapping McGuire to go in at the right corner.
In his understandable excitement, McGuire went for a spectacular trademark diving finish when he too could have got round closer to the posts – and Shaw missed the touchline conversion.
Dixon then kicked wide for Broncos with his penalty attempt after Joel Tomkins and Rob Butler had clashed, not for the only time on the night.
But it was the visitors who had the last word when they finally made the most of their late pressure.
Hull KR: Hall; Dagger, Crooks, J Keinhorst, Shaw; Drinkwater, McGuire; Mulhern, Parcell, Murray, Tomkins, Hauraki, Hadley.
Interchanges: Garbutt, Trout, Masoe, Atkin.
London Broncos: Walker; Dixon, Morgan, Kear, Williams; Abdull, Lamb; Battye, Cunningham, Butler, Pitts, Gee, Yates.
Interchanges: Fozard, Mason, Hindmarsh, Armitage.
Referee: James Child (RFL).