Tottenham suffer humiliating defeat to Slovenian minnows NS Mura

Amadej Marosa of NS Mura celebrates after scoring their side's second goal.
Amadej Marosa of NS Mura celebrates after scoring their side's second goal.

Tottenham endured one of the most embarrassing nights in their history as they were beaten by the lowest-ranked team in the Europa Conference League, going down 2-1 to NS Mura in Maribor.

New boss Antonio Conte will have watched on with horror as his side lost at the death to a team with a UEFA coefficient ranking of 341.

Even though they were reduced to 10 men just after the half-hour when Ryan Sessegnon was sent off, Spurs should still have had enough to see off opposition who had lost their previous four games in the competition and are mid-table in the Slovenian league.

Instead they lost to Amadej Marosa’s stoppage-time goal after Harry Kane had earlier cancelled out Tomi Horvat’s shock opener.

The defeat means Spurs will likely have to beat Rennes in their final game to be assured of qualification for the knockout stages and they can no longer qualify as group winners, meaning they will have to play an extra round.

It was another night of disappointment for those hoping for the chance to impress Conte, with Dele Alli particularly poor and not lasting beyond 52 minutes, and the Italian has further evidence of just how big a job he faces in north London.

The night started in difficult fashion as Tottenham endured what are now customary troubles on their travels in Europe.

Mura, who were only formed in 2012, forged ahead in the 11th minute as Horvat was set free down the right. He took advantage of Davinson Sanchez’s slip and cut inside before curling a left-footed effort into the far corner.

In Kane, Alli and Tanguy Ndombele, Spurs had enough individual quality on the pitch to hurt their opposition, but they were playing with no cohesion and inflicted more self-harm in the 32nd minute.

All the pre-match narrative had been about how this was Sessegnon’s chance to stake his claim under Conte, but he had a night to forget as he picked up a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Ziga Kous and was sent off.

Kane nearly brought the 10 men level five minutes later after a neat turn, but his shot from 12 yards went just wide.

In the end Spurs were lucky to get to the interval just 1-0 down as Nik Lorbek flashed an effort just wide with goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini rooted to the spot.

Conte had seen enough early in the second half and introduced Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura, Eric Dier and Ben Davies – and it almost paid immediate dividends.

Son went on a surging run into the penalty area, rounding several defenders before stinging the palms of Matko Obradovic, who made his first save of the evening.

From the resulting corner Kane should have equalised, but he directed a free header straight at Obradovic.

Spurs eventually found a leveller in the 72nd minute as Kane produced a nice finish.

Two Mura defenders left a Moura pass to each other, allowing the England captain to nip in and clip home in style.

Spurs pushed forward for a winner, with Moura drilling an effort over, but they never looked like winning and instead it was the Slovenians who capped a historic night.

Marosa was released down the right, he cut inside Sanchez and his deflected effort looped over a helpless Gollini to spark wild scenes of celebration.

Amadej Marosa of NS Mura celebrates with teammates after scoring their side's second goal.
Amadej Marosa of NS Mura celebrates with teammates after scoring their side's second goal.

Ex-Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas said the defeat was "shocking and embarrassing", while former Spurs manager Glenn Hoddle performance was "dreadful".

"I did not like what happened tonight," said Conte. "I must be honest and tell you that after three-and-a-half weeks, I am starting to understand the situation.

"I am happy to stay here but at the same time I must be honest and tell you we need to work a lot to improve the quality of the squad. We are Tottenham and in this moment there is an important gap.

"If someone thinks that a new coach arrives and Conte won in the past and then I am a magician... But the only magic I can do is to work. To bring work and work to improve, to bring my methods, my ideas of football. But we have to understand that we need time.

"It is not simple because, in this moment for sure, the level of Tottenham is not so high.

"The situation now is starting to be very clear in my mind. I like to win and I play to win in every competition. This must be the same for my players.

"This road could be one metre or 100m. I am not scared, I am ready to go and do this path. But at the same time I want to be very honest - we have to work a lot and improve in many, many aspects.

"The club is outstanding outside - to create a stadium - but now we start from behind. I have found players that want to work and have great commitment, but sometimes it is not enough.

"We need time, but we have to do better in everything, everything, everything."