Tottenham have lost 1-0 to Pacos de Ferreira in their first match in the Europa Conference League qualifying playoff.
After starting their Premier League campaign by beating reigning champions Manchester City, Spurs were heavily favored to beat their Portuguese opponent and make it to the group stage of the competition.
But, Lucas Silva’s goal drew the line between the two teams at the Capital do Movel Municipal Stadium.
Nuno Espirito Santo went for a very different team as he made 11 changes to the side that beat Man City last weekend.
Harry Kane, who missed the Man City game, was an absentee once again, fanning the flames of uncertainty over his future. Those changes proved costly as Tottenham face the humiliating prospect of elimination from the qualifiers.
Pierluigi Gollini, who came on loan from Atalanta, replaced Hugo Lloris in goal.
New summer acquisitions Cristian Romero and Bryan Gil also played their first matches for the club. Dane Scarlett, Tottenham’s highly-rated academy graduate, led the line for the Lilywhites.
Giovani Lo Celso, Ben Davies, Harry Winks, and Matt Doherty were the first team regulars who started the match for Tottenham. Regardless, they didn’t manage to cause much trouble to a well-drilled Pacos team.
Before the teams went down the tunnel for the interval, the home team opened the scoring through Lucas Silva.
The Brazilian were on the receiving end of an incisive through ball from Valente Santos. Silva exhibited exquisite control of the ball as he ran past the Spurs defensive line and found the net past Gollini.
Tottenham came out in the second half with more urgency, but they failed to create menacing goal-scoring opportunities.
They dominated possession, but failed to make things happen on the attacking third.
Pacos were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure. Ultimately, they claimed all three points for their hard work and perseverance.
Tottenham will host Pacos next week at their newly built stadium.
A win is mandatory for them to keep their European ambitions alive.
A two-goal difference will ensure their next stage progression, while a one-goal victory will take the tie to extra time. Per UEFA’s latest rules, there will be no away goal advantage.
Before the August 26 clash, Nuno will return to the Molineux for facing his old side Wolves in the Premier League.
His team will get only four days to prepare for the Pacos game afterward.
It’s unclear whether or not Harry Kane will return to the squad. With the English captain trying to secure a move to Manchester City, Nuno might have to make do again without his best striker.
Nuno spoke about the defeat after the match.