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Rennes’s team spirit keeps European ambitions alive

Ligue 1 Talking Points writer Paul Bathurst explains how a combination of team spirit and intelligent substitutions allowed Rennes to claw back Lyon last night.

With games fast running out, Rennes claimed a vital 2-2 draw with Lyon on Sunday. Lyon now sit fourth with Rennes just 1 point behind in fifth. The importance of avoiding defeat was clear for the hosts, and after a poor start to the game, Rennes delivered.

Lyon were out of the traps in electric fashion, Rennes quite simply could not cope with the interchange of the Lyon frontline. The newfound attack trio of Lacazette, Cornet and Ghezzal consistently linked up to create dangerous opportunities and their respective performances once again served as evidence to explain Bruno Génésio’s side’s recent upturn in form. Eventually Cornet broke free down the left with a weaving run, and the youngster crossed to fellow academy graduate Rachid Ghezzal who tapped home with ease.

Shortly after the restart, a hopeful cross into the Rennes box was headed home by Lacazette who was helped by some suspect goalkeeping from Costil. 55 minutes on the clock and 2-0 down…Rennes had it all to do.

Thankfully for the home side, they have a pro active and intelligent manager in Rolland Courbis. After a woeful first half performance, the manager reacted quickly by bringing in Boga and Diagne at the break. Staring defeat in the face, Rennes forced a corner which resulted in Diagne halving the deficit with 20 minutes to go.

With a shift in momentum, Rennes found themselves level on 82 minutes when Dembélé broke the offside trap only to see his strike saved. However, thankfully for Rennes, Boga followed up ensuring the scores were levelled, with a little help from Lyon fullback Rafael.

Both sides had late chances to take all 3 points, with Ghezzal going closest for the visitors. A never say die attitude from the hosts has kept them well positioned to challenge for the European places. If Lyon had held on, Rennes would now sit a significant 4 points behind them. However, thanks to a combination of excellent team spirit and canny tactical changes, SRFC remain right in the mix.

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