PLAYER RATINGS | Rennes 0 – 1 Lyon: Jake O’Brien delivers OL’s first win of the season

Lyon travelled to Roazhon Park searching for their first competitive victory of the season. They would face a Rennes team who were in patchy form themselves. OL found themselves at the foot of the table before kick-off with Rennes firmly in midtable.

The game sparked into life after 5 minutes when Guéla Doué was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Nicolás Tagliafico. Initially, Frappart showed the young defender a yellow card before issuing a more serious caution after deliberation with VAR. A serious advantage for a Lyon team without a win all season. 

The following 15 minutes yielded very few opportunities for either team as Les Gones huffed and puffed as they tried to find a way through Rennes’ low block. Les Rouge et Noirs began to break out of their low block and venture further up the pitch – looking more dangerous than OL despite being reduced to ten men. However, Doué’s sending-off on his first professional start took any form of tactical battle out of the game and left it without identity in the first half with neither team creating anything meaningful. The scores remained level at the break. 

At half-time, Alexandre Lacazette replaced Skelly Alvero as Lyon looked to take charge of the game in attack and Rennes made a triple change to hopefully swing the game in their balance. Arnaud Kalimuendo, Jeanuël Belocian and Baptiste Santamaria replaced Martin Terrier, Ibrahim Salah and Adrien Truffert.  

Lyon had their first chance of the second half with a well-worked set piece that found Mama Baldé, but his glancing header was easy for Mandanda to deal with. Grosso certainly offered words of encouragement to his team at half time as the intensity of OL’s performance moved up a couple of gears. Kumbedi had an opportunity on the volley from his own cleared cross but it was straight at Mandanda.

In the 67th minute, Jake O’Brien gave Lyon exactly what they were looking for as he connected with Kumbedi’s lofted cross. The former Crystal Palace centre-back showed great desire to beat everyone to the ball and head home into the bottom corner. Saël Kumbedi deserves lots of praise for a brilliant byline cross. OL had opened the scoring for the first time this season. 

Rennes’ first chance of the second half came via an Enzo Le Fée free-kick but he could not beat Jake O’Brien in the Lyon wall and his deflected shot went out for a corner. Nothing came from the following corner. Following Lyon’s opener, the hosts began their search for an equaliser and adopted a much higher position up the pitch. This led to several set-piece scenarios for Genesio’s team as Lyon tried to stop an onslaught on their goal and claim their first three points of the season. 

Jeffinho had the chance to double Lyon’s lead after some nice play with Diawara during an impressive counter but he flashed his effort over the bar. The game had developed a basketball-like feel to it as Rennes searched for an equaliser. Les Rouge et Noirs had a brilliant opportunity from a late corner with Belocian looking to head home but his header was way off target, Rennes players believed they should have had a penalty but Frappart waved play on. 

Despite Rennes’ best efforts to find a late equaliser, the man-advantage paid its toll and Lyon claimed their first three points of the season. Grosso will have to see his team improve immensely but Jake O’Brien’s second-half header could provide Lyon with the inspiration to potentially kickstart their season. 

Rennes player ratings:

Steve Mandanda – 6

Guéla Doué – N/A, The youngster’s first professional start ended prematurely following a red card in the opening 5 minutes. His challenge would eventually change the dynamic of the game and dictate proceedings for the rest of the match. 

Christopher Wooh – 6

Arthur Theate – 6

Adrien Truffert – 6

Nemanja Matić – 6, The Serbian was a major influence in Rennes’ ability to keep watertight for so long as he marshalled the defensive unit and limited Lyon to a small number of chances. Matić showed moments of quality during the attacking phases of play including a couple of brilliant skills on the ball. 

Benjamin Bourigeaud – 6

Enzo Le Fée – 7, The former Lorient midfielder was excellent in a more defensive role than usual and won more duels than anyone else on the pitch for Rennes. His defensive shift certainly highlighted the less-known side of his game but in an impressive manner. 

Ludovic Blas – 6

Martin Terrier – 5

Ibrahim Salah – 6

Lyon player ratings:

Anthony Lopes – 6

Saël Kumbedi – 7, The young Frenchman looked like one of the more dangerous players for Lyon and showed tremendous work rate in his willingness to win the ball back but also his quality in delivering crosses and creating shooting opportunities for himself and his teammates. This was displayed with his impressive assist for O’Brien.

Sinalu Diomandé – 6

Jake O’Brien – 7, The former Crystal Palace defender showed great desire to beat everyone to the ball and give Lyon their first three points of the season. His first goal for the club could be a turning point in their season. 

Nicolás Tagliafico – 6

Skelly Alvero – 5

Maxence Caqueret – 6

Corentin Tolisso – 6

Ernest Nuamah – 5

Mama Baldé – 5

Rayan Cherki – 5, Another frustrating outing for Cherki as he was unable to put his stamp on the game despite being afforded the role of Lyon’s chief creator. The French U21 international showed some glimpses of his creative qualities but they were few and far between. 

GFFN | Liam Wraith


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