LONDON: Harry Kane climbed off the bench to bag a hat-trick as Tottenham produced a confidence-restoring 5-1 win over Mura in the Europa Conference League.
Spurs came into the game on the back of Sunday’s harrowing north London derby defeat to Arsenal needing to regain their strut and find goals and the Slovenian outfit were the perfect opposition.
Goals from Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso in the opening eight minutes put Spurs in charge and, after Ziga Kous scored the goal of his life for the minnows after half-time, the England captain came on to finish the job in the final 30 minutes.
The fact Kane was needed against the lowest ranked team in the competition, with a UEFA coefficient rating of 337, could be seen as a measure of Tottenham’s plight this season, but the striker, yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League, will surely benefit from this goal-laden cameo.
It was his 13th career treble for Spurs as he edges closer to the late Jimmy Greaves’ record of 266 goals.
Declan Rice grabbed his second European goal as West Ham won their first ever home Europa League group-stage match 2-0 against Rapid Vienna.
England midfielder Rice struck in the first half to make it two goals in two continental outings for him, and Said Benrahma scored in stoppage time to wrap up two wins from two for the Hammers.
The only downside was a skirmish among rival fans in the stands which police and stewards had to deal with.
Nevertheless it was a fitting result the day after West Ham unveiled a statue of Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters – three of their 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup-winning side who went on to lift the World Cup for England a year later – outside London Stadium.
Leicester’s Europa League hopes suffered another blow after a disappointing defeat at Legia Warsaw.
Mahir Emreli’s 10th goal of the season gave the Polish champions a 1-0 victory on Thursday. Jannik Vestergaard missed the Foxes’ best chance and they are left facing an uphill battle in Group C.
Only the group winners go through automatically this season and the Foxes – who travel to Spartak Moscow in October – have one point from their opening two games, five points behind leaders Legia.
Celtic’s rebuilding work will continue after they suffered a 4-0 Europa League defeat by Bayer Leverkusen at Parkhead.
The home side went toe-to-toe with the in-form Bundesliga outfit but after a mistake by midfielder David Turnbull in the 25th minute, 19-year-old Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie gave the visitors the crucial lead.
Then 18-year-old star midfielder Florian Wirtz added a second for Gerardo Seoane’s men in the 36th minute and despite strenuous efforts by Celtic to get back into the match – and they had several chances throughout – Lucas Alario added a third from the spot on the hour mark before substitute Amine Adil thrashed in a breakaway fourth in added time.
Glen Kamara was routinely booed in a stadium full of schoolchildren and then sent off as Rangers fell to a 1-0 Europa League defeat against Sparta Prague.
Kamara was clearly targeted by some of the 10,000 fans six months after being subjected to abuse by Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela, which earned the Czech Republic defender a 10-game UEFA ban.
The Letna Stadium was originally meant to be shut for this game following a separate racist charge against Sparta after Monaco’s Aurelius Tchouameni was subjected to abuse last season.
UEFA instead agreed to a proposal for the game to go ahead in front of mainly schoolchildren with some accompanying adults, but booing was audible any time Kamara touched the ball.
The biggest cheers of the night outside the one which greeted David Hancko’s first-half headed goal came after Kamara received both of his yellow cards for fouls on Michal Sacek.
The Finland midfielder, who served a three-game ban following an alleged assault on Kudela in the Ibrox tunnel, was booked just before half-time for a tackle. He was harshly penalised in the 74th minute when Turkish referee Ali Palabıyık ruled his arm had been raised dangerously in an aerial challenge.
Rangers were already struggling to get back into the game and the 10 men could not avert a second defeat out of two Group A matches.