Tottenham’s Europa League dreams have been dealt a massive blow by Jeremy Perbet, who’s strike gave Gent a 1-0 win in their last-32 first leg match.
Mauricio Pochettino named a strong Spurs team that included the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli from the start. However, the English side who had travelled to Belgium were poor throughout the night, failing to create many chances.
Instead, it was Gent who took control, with striker Perbet controlling and slotting in a teammates cut-back on the hour mark.
The home side, who are eighth in the Belgian league, were able to hold on and take a vital goal to Wembley. The second leg will be played next week, on Thursday, February 23.
No home comforts
With White Hart Lane undergoing redevelopment, Spurs are forced to play their home European games at Wembley. After failing to qualify for the knockout rounds of the Champions League following home defeats to Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen in the group stage earlier this season, the side appear to be struggling away from N17.
This will almost certainly fuel Gent, who will believe another upset is very achievable.
Before Thursday, Pochettino’s side were second favourites (behind Manchester United) to win the entire competition. Now they need a strong performance at Wembley just to stay in contention.
Unlike Spurs, favourites United did not slip up against AS Saint-Etienne. Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired his side to a 3-0 home victory and netted his first hat-trick for the club.
Jose Mourinho’s team travel to France next Wednesday to play the return leg. Following that game, they’re in action against Southampton in the League Cup final at Wembley. The Red Devils will be hoping to perform better there than their rivals have this season.
For Tottenham, a tricky FA Cup tie away to Fulham is up next.