The league title may be all but wrapped up, but the uncertainty continues to grow for PSG. As Bruno Génésio’s Rennes side completed the league double over the Parisians, there was a sense that the hosts – albeit decimated by injury – scarcely looked like getting back into the game after going down. Especially against a Steve Mandanda in imperious form.
The first half saw PSG break past the visitors’ defence several times – Kylian Mbappé being found over the top, but Steve Mandanda winning his duels every time. Although Christophe Galtier’s men appeared to grow in confidence as the half went on, his makeshift backline eventually gave in, as Karl Toko Ekambi’s run into space was spotted by Benjamin Bourigeaud, and the Cameroon forward fended off Juan Bernat and Danilo to open the scoring.
And the Bretons picked up exactly where they left off after the break, launching another counter, at the end of which Kalimuendo was found at the back post by a pin-point Ugochukwu cross to double the lead against his former club. The hosts would come close to pulling one back on several occasions – notably from a curled Marco Verratti shot late on – but there was an air of assuredness about Rennes, led by the veteran Mandanda, which meant that the result was no longer in doubt.
Galtier’s men remain nine points clear in front of Lens, ahead of Marseille’s trip to Reims tonight – but the overriding feeling is that if their Classique rivals had shown more consistency this season, the record-breaking 11th Ligue 1 title would not have been such a formality.
PSG player ratings
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 5
Timothée Pembélé, 5
Danilo Pereira, 4
El Chadaille Bitshiabu, 4
Juan Bernat, 4 – In an unfamiliar position – right-sided centre-back, Bernat looked comfortable on the ball but was often caught out by Rennes’ lightning-quick counter-attacks, as Toko Ekambi’s opener showed. Replaced by Renato Sanches by the hour mark, as Christophe Galtier switched back to a four-man defence.
Nuno Mendes, 4
Fabián Ruiz, 3 – The Spaniard with a somewhat inoffensive performance – kept the ball moving but made a glaring error in the lead-up to Rennes’ opener, as he sent a through ball to nobody. Replaced by Hugo Ekitike, whose desire, energy and willingness to combine with his teammates breathed new life into the attack, albeit to no avail.
Marco Verratti, 4
Kylian Mbappé, 4 – Paris Saint-Germain’s most dangerous player in the first half with his runs behind a Rennes defence who were unable to contain him – he even had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside. A decidedly quieter second half, though, punctuated by the odd foray down the left that Omari and the rest of the Rennes defence were able to fend off.
Lionel Messi, 5 – Although he lost the ball in the middle a few times, the Argentine was again at the heart of PSG’s attacks, notably finding Mbappé several times in the first half.
Rennes player ratings
Steve Mandanda, 8 – Saw the most action in the first half, but made his experience count as he imposed himself in every one-on-one situation, notably making a great double stop from Mbappé shortly before his team’s opener. Was also a calming presence in the second half, and made a fantastic finger-tip save from Marco Verratti late on. Man of the match.
Djed Spence, 6 – The Tottenham Hotspur loanee was unstoppable down the right – an all-action performance that saw him win the majority of his defensive duels, as well as offering a constant outlet for his team’s counter-attacks. A technically proficient performance that saw him come close to getting on the scoresheet, replaced in the last ten minutes by club captain Hamari Traoré.
Warmed Omari, 6
Christopher Wooh, 6
Arthur Theate, 6
Adrien Truffert, n/a
Lesley Ugochukwu, 6
Benjamin Bourigeaud, 7 – Was decisive in helping Rennes win the midfield battle, and a constant presence around the pitch – helped set up the two goals – the first with a great ball over the top for Toko Ekambi, and the second by intercepting Bernat’s ball before Ugochukwu’s cross for Kalimuendo.
Désiré Doué, 5
Karl Toko Ekambi, 6
Arnaud Kalimuendo, 6 – A deserved goal at the start of the second half, and led the way as Rennes consistently attacked PSG on the counter in the second half, causing problems for the makeshift defence.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin