Tottenham, AC Milan advance in Europa League qualifying

Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele score the goals to send the Spurs through to the third qualifying round.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane scores from the penalty spot.   -  REUTERS

Tottenham needed two late goals to secure a 2-1 victory over nine-man Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Europa League qualifying on Thursday, while AC Milan and Rangers also advanced.

Tottenham went 1-0 down in the 71st minute but Harry Kane equalised from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time before substitute Tanguy Ndombele netted the winner five minutes later to send Spurs through to the third qualifying round. Plovdiv had two players sent off in the incident that led to Kane’s penalty, as Dinis Almeida was given a straight red for handball before Birsent Karagaren was shown a second yellow for dissent.

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Milan beat Shamrock Rovers 2-0 in Dublin with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the opener in the first half before Hakan Calhanoglu completed the victory in the second.

All qualifying games in UEFA’s club competitions are being played without fans in the stadiums because of the pandemic.

Also on Thursday, Dennis Man converted the decisive penalty in a shootout after scoring a hat trick to to help Romania’s FCSB beat nine-man Backa Topola in Serbia in a game that finished 4-4 after 90 minutes and 6-6 following extra time. FCSB had only 14 players available due to coronavirus infections and most of its coaching staff quarantined.

Rangers routed Lincoln Red Imps 5-0 in Gibraltar. Norway’s Rosenborg advanced with a 5-1 victory at Latvia’s Ventspils and Spanish side Granada won 4-0 at Albania’s Teuta.

Copenhagen beat Swedish club IFK Gothenburg 2-1, while Wolfsburg cruised past Albania’s Kukes 4-0 in Tirana.

Mourinho still has faith in Ndombele

Jose Mourinho says he questioned Tanguy Ndombele's professionalism last season but still has faith in the France midfielder.

Ndombele arrived for a club record GBP 54 million (USD 69.91 million) last year but struggled to make an impact, with injuries limiting him to 17 starts and Mourinho singling him out for criticism before the COVID-19 shutdown.

However, the 23-year-old had shown he was now focused and applying himself, Mourinho said.

“Last season he was stuck in a situation where I couldn't see evolution,” Mourinho told reporters. “In this moment he's training very, very well.

“In this moment, I believe in Tanguy. I never doubted his quality. Never. I doubted in some moments his motivation and commitment and professional attitude. In this moment I think that Tanguy can do well for us.”

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