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Spurs share spoils in Monaco but still top Europa League Group J

Tottenham handed starts to recent England Euro 2016 qualifier call-ups Harry Kane and Dele Alli, the latter of which for a potential debut, for their Europa League Group J clash with cash-rich Ligue 1 club Monaco.

And it was the 19-year-old midfielder who celebrated his senior selection in style, as he was heavily involved in his side’s goal and did well to create another opportunity for Kane, who should’ve scored. But a late equaliser from substitute Stephan El Shaarawy ensured the spoils were shared.

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While these two teams have never met in a competitive fixture, Premier League fans will be fairly familiar to former Everton loanee forward Lacina Traore, and it was the giant Ivorian who had the first chance in the seventh minute. However, it was sliced wide of Lloris’ goal despite being from close range.

That was about it in terms of exciting action for the start of the game in a very quiet and empty Stade Louis II, until the 20th minute when Nacer Chadli nearly caught opposition keeper Danijel Subasic out of his six-yard box. But the Belgian’s shot was just over the bar.

The first meaningful shot on goal came in the 26th minute from Adama Traore, not to be confused with his exact namesake at Aston Villa, as he struck from far out to force Lloris into an awkward save.

With 10 minutes until the break, visitors Spurs were ahead and thanks to teenager Alli, whose turn and shot eventually found Erik Lamela to slot home into an empty net.

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That sparked a very end-to-end passage of play, and firstly immediately from the kick-off, Monaco had two great chance to equalise, firstly from Thomas Lemar, who shot wide, and then from captain Jeremy Toulalon, but he couldn’t quite reach a header.

Those missed efforts were nearly punished moments later, though, again with Alli involved. Compatriot Kane couldn’t dispatch from the youngster’s pass, however.

Again the pendulum swung towards Monaco at the other end following that chance, and giant Traore was unable to head home.

The second-half began even more slowly than the first, and it wasn’t until the 70th minute that the first shot on target. Eric Dier, who was perhaps unlucky not to get an England call-up, headed right at the keeper. And, like London buses, Kane had a similar chance seconds later.

Hosts boss Leonardo Jardim will have to be commended for his substitutions, as two of them combined for an 81st minute equaliser. AC Milan-owned Italy attacker El Shaarawy rose up high to head in Nabil Dirar’s cross.

The draw means that Tottenham stay top of the group, with Monaco two points behind in third after Qarabag beat Anderlecht.