UEFA Europa League, 30/11/23
Stade Rennais secured their place in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Europa League after a comfortable win against Maccabi Haïfa (3-0) in Budapest.
It was an eery evening in an empty Puskas Arena with the game moved due to the ongoing conflict in Israel. In an empty stadium, Julien Stéphan’s side quickly took control of the game and arguably should have been awarded a penalty when Christopher Wooh was felled in the box.
However, Rennes wouldn’t have to wait long for their opener. Martin Terrier’s last goal was on 2nd January, but you couldn’t tell. After a nice one-two with Enzo Le Fée, he rifled his shot in at the near post to set his team on their way. The Frenchman, who is still working his way back to full form following his ACL injury, almost doubled his account but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet to get a clear shot away from inside the box.
Rennes would get their second just seconds in the second half. Amine Gouiri, who looks reborn since the managerial change, anticipated a poor ball back to the centre-back, intercepted, drove into the box and finished smartly. He almost got a second just minutes later, but his shot ricocheted off the upright and to safety.
Stéphan’s side saw the result out professionally, not allowing Maccabi Haïfa a route back into the tie and even added a third in injury time thanks to a sublime Fabien Rieder free-kick. Rennes have therefore qualified for the play-off round but can secure their place in the Round of 16 in the final gameweek.
Rennes player ratings
Steve Mandanda – 5
Arthur Theate – 6
Warmed Omari – 6
Christopher Wooh – 5
Adrien Truffert – 6
Nemanja Matic – 7
Enzo Le Fée – 7
This was more like the Le Fée that we saw at Lorient. The former France U21 international has struggled since the summer move, but his best attributes were on show tonight. His ball for Terrier’s goal was perfectly weighted and against a low-block, he dictated the tempo from deep and punctuated the game with some dangerous line-breaking passes. With an impressive 90 passes completed, he controlled the game and was pivotal in allowing Rennes to dominate the midfield.
Lorenz Assignon – 5
Martin Terrier – 7
It was a special night for Terrier, who scored his first goal since suffering an ACL injury on 2nd January. His goal was excellently taken and reminiscent of the clinical finishing that the winger showed prior to his injury. That goal should give him the confidence to go and get more.
Amine Gouiri – 7
Influential throughout and was effective in tidy interchanges with his teammates in the final third. His anticipation earned him a goal early in the second-half and he almost got on the scoresheet again. Having also scored at the weekend, Gouiri looks to be the player that has benefitted most from the managerial change at the club.