Previous
Tobol Kostanay
Jeunesse Esch
5:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Kairat Almaty
Siroki Brijeg
7:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
FK Makedonija
Alashkert FC
7:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
KS Teuta
FK Ventspils
8:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
FC Inter Turku
Brøndby
8:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Rigas Futbola Skola
Olimpija Ljubljana
9:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
FC Levadia Tallinn
Stjarnan
9:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
RoPS
Aberdeen
9:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Universitatea Craiova
Sabail
9:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Levski Sofia
MFK Ruzomberok
9:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Dinamo Minsk
FK Liepaja
9:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Haugesund
Cliftonville
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Zalgiris Vilnius
Honvéd
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Petrocub-Hincesti
AEK Larnaca
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Apollon Limassol
Kauno Zalgiris
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Zrinjski Mostar
Akademija Pandev
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Torpedo Kutaisi
Ordabasy Shymkent
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
FC Milsami
FCSB
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Cracovia
Dunajska Streda
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
FC Vaduz
Breidablik
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Neftchi
Speranta Nisporeni
10:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Progres Niederkorn
Cork
10:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Hapoel Be'er
KF Laci
10:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
UE Engordany
Dinamo Tbilisi
10:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 6
Game Details
Vidi
FK Zeta
11:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 1
Game Details
IFK Norrkoping
St Patricks
11:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
B36 Torshavn
Crusaders
11:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
NS Mura
Maccabi Haifa
11:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Hibernians
Shakhter Soligorsk
11:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Hajduk Split
Gzira United
11:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
FK Kukesi
Debrecen
11:00 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
FC Vitebsk
KuPS Kuopio
11:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Shkupi
Pyunik
11:30 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 3
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
Radnik Bijeljina
11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Radnicki Nis
Flora
11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
NK Domzale
Balzan FC
11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 3
Game Details
Rangers
St. Joseph's
11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
Ballymena
Malmo FF
11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 7
Game Details
Kilmarnock
Connah's Quay
11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Buducnost Podgorica
JK Narva Trans
11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Legia Warsaw
Europa FC
12:00 PM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
KR Reykjavik
Molde
12:00 PM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 7
Game Details
Shamrock Rovers
SK Brann
12:00 PM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Next

Without Kane and Son, Pochettino facing toughest task yet with Spurs

LONDON -- With about 10 minutes left at Craven Cottage, a fizzing cross was delivered into the Fulham area from Tottenham's left flank, the sort of ball a centre-forward dreams of. Fernando Llorente rose to meet the header but seemed to just hold back very slightly as the ball arrived. The ball skimmed off his forehead and missed the far post. Had he jabbed his head forwards just a little, he would have made more forceful contact and almost certainly have at least put his effort on target. He was in the middle of a crowded area, but for the want of a few inches of neck movement a chance disappeared.

A few moments later, Dele Alli skidded off the pitch, his hand clutching his hamstring before he had even reached the turf, the telltale sign of a man who can see three to four weeks on the treatment table in his future. Just up the touchline, Mauricio Pochettino sighed, puffed out his cheeks and reluctantly told Georges-Kevin Nkoudou to ready himself, with the look of someone about to entrust a plumbing repair to a man with a hammer and some tape.

As it turned out, he need not have been so pessimistic. As injury time ticked down and Tottenham's first draw of the season looked certain, Nkoudou pinged in the most perfect ball for Harry Winks to head in a winner. If Pochettino can make a player of Nkoudou, adding to his assorted other conjuring tricks and MacGyver-esque solutions, he truly is a wizard.

But even though they won this, even though a 93rd-minute winner is the very antithesis of "Spursy," even though they eventually punched through a surprisingly scrappy Fulham side, this was not a day for cartwheels and joy.

This was Tottenham's first game without Harry Kane -- the best striker in the world, according to the 2018 edition of ESPN FC 100 -- and Son Heung-Min, and therefore a look at what their attack will look like for the next month or so. And, well, it doesn't look great. Llorente started and looked like a man who hasn't started a league game in more than a year, which isn't surprising as that's exactly what he is.

Fernando Llorente was asked to fill in for Harry Kane, and promptly scored an own-goal.

There were quite a few moments of the game when you felt pretty sorry for Llorente. He's not a fundamentally bad player. He's just a man entirely bereft of confidence trying to fill the shoes of the best striker in the world. A tough gig.

Part of the problem with trying to replace Kane is that he's not only probably the finest No. 9 around, but he's among the Premier League's better No. 10s too. And, remarkably, he manages to do both at the same time. The old line about N'Golo Kante being two players in one applies here: you'll often find Kane dropping deep to collect the ball and link play, giving the likes of Son and Alli space to run in behind the defence, while at the same time not vacating his duties as a centre-forward.

Llorente tried to do that here. He really did. But he couldn't. It's not his fault; "not being Harry Kane" is pretty low down on the list of faults a footballer can have. It's like blaming the various singers employed by Queen in the past few years for not being Freddie Mercury.

"I am very happy," said Pochettino after the game, when asked about Llorente's performance, stoically finding the silver lining on a pretty grim-looking cloud. "He fought for the 90 minutes. He had a few chances to score and was a little bit unlucky."

Unlucky he was with the own-goal as well, turned in as he tried to help out his defence from a corner. But it summed up his contribution rather neatly: well intentioned, but ultimately counterproductive.

Indeed, as the game progressed there was plenty of evidence for the case that with Kane and Son absent, Alli would be a better choice as a striker than Llorente. He's strong, good in the air (nobody in the Premier League has scored more than his four headed goals this season), uses the ball smartly and will naturally try Kane's trick of dropping deep as much as he leads the line.

Of course, that theory went bang with his hamstring. Afterwards Pochettino, like a man reacting to torrential rain by exclaiming what a great chance to wear his new coat this is, looked for the positives ahead of Thursday's Carabao Cup semifinal against Chelsea. "It's a massive opportunity for different players to play," he said. "The most important thing is to believe."

There is a way to turn all of this adversity into fuel, to use the assorted minor calamities as motivation to prove the gods of fate wrong. Pochettino basically said as much, citing various things that have gone against him and his team this season -- lack of transfer activity last summer, the delays with their new stadium -- and intimating they can help create that "us against the world" mentality that every team in the world tries to build.

It'll have to work, too. Because with that Chelsea game, the Champions League restarting soon and a title race to somehow keep in touch with, Spurs are down to the barest of bones. They battled through this one but at the risk of being uncharitable, they needed two defensive lapses to beat a side almost certain to be relegated.

With a floundering Llorente up front trying to do things he simply isn't capable of, and injuries cutting though an already thin squad, Pochettino must amplify those positives through the loudest speaker he can find. If he can, it will be among his finest achievements yet.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.