Saturday night’s Ligue 1 action saw Lille end Rennes’ impressive run of ten Ligue 1 home wins in a row with a comeback win, in a bouncing and 28,000-strong Roazhon Park –
As Lille got the game underway, they were immediately trapped by Rennes’ coordinated pressing. A wayward pass from André Gomes caught Lenny Yoro by surprise. He missed his touch as the onrushing Amine Gouiri smelt blood. The latter picked Yoro’s pocket to beat Lucas Chevalier with ease. Rennes almost made it two before a brilliant save from Chevalier following a deflection from Gouiri.
Down a goal very early on against an almost invincible team to play when at home, Les Dogues could have feared a long night ahead of them. Yet they progressively grew into the game, as Rennes probably did not expect to have a lead to keep so early on. As they’re used to with Paulo Fonseca at the helm, Lille played some good free-flowing football in their opponents’ half but failed to find any cracks in their tight backline. Jonathan David came close ten minutes from the break, but his cross-shot ran wide. Rennes were also close to doubling their lead thanks to another Lille blunder, as Bafodé Diakité needlessly deflected a Djed Spence cross. Thankfully for Lille, the excellent Chevalier once again came to the rescue came to the rescue.
The second half started as the first ended. Les Dogues were increasingly more comfortable in Rennes’ half and kept knocking on the door. David found the back of the net, but he was called offside. Rennes were playing with fire as their midfield was cut through too easily – Edon Zhegrova missed a glorious chance for an equalizer as Steve Mandanda called his bluff on his chip. But the Kosovo international had no time to reflect. David played on Angel Gomes, whose clever flick at the edge of the box found the winger, who dispatched past Mandanda with composure.
Both teams went for the throat for this highly enjoyable game between two European football hopefuls. Bruno Génésio and Fonseca rang the changes to set up an all-or-nothing finale. Gomes laid one on for Zhegrova, and the goalscorer crossed beautifully for an unmarked Cabella to slam home. Gomes put the icing on the cake with a strong low strike to beat Mandanda in the dying minutes. Lille punished Rennes’ passiveness and climbed to sixth place, just two points behind their opponents for the night, whose easy midweek win against minnows Strasbourg is now a distant memory.
Rennes players ratings
Steve Mandanda, 4
Djed Spence, 5 – He made a complete mockery of Ismaily at the 5th minute to set the tone from the get-go. Defensively, he looked the part with a vital block in front of David and was a constant outlet on Rennes’ right attacking side. Promising start.
Joe Rodon, 5 – The other Tottenham loanee gave a solid performance and kept David mostly at bay. His physical abilities are proving vital for Bruno Génésio. So much so that he looks to have topped Warmed Omari in Rennes’ centre-back hierarchy. But questions need to be asked regarding the marking on Cabella’s goal.
Arthur Theate, 4
Adrien Truffert, 4
Baptiste Santamaria, 6 – How Rennes have missed him. The former Angers man was the engine of the midfield, launching himself into tackles, setting the pace of the game and closing Lille’s passing lanes.
Flavien Tait, 5
Benjamin Bourigeaud, 5
Karl Toko Ekambi, 5 – He looks a completely different man from the player who was below average at Lyon. He showed energy, clever attacking impetus and plugged some gaps in defense. But he wavered in the second half and was logically replaced.
Désiré Doué, 5
Amine Gouiri, 6 – He did not miss the golden opportunity to open the scoring after 28 seconds and bag his third goal of the week. His teammates found it increasingly difficult to find him as the game went on though, as Rennes sustained constant pressure from Lille.
Lille players ratings
Lucas Chevalier, 7 – Caught cold by the first-minute opener, the 21-year-old showed why he is poised to make the France squad in the near future with some good saves. Simply put, without him, Lille would have sunk in the first half.
Tiago Djalo, 5
Lenny Yoro, 4 – The 17-year-old had been targeted by Rennes’ strikers and was at fault for the opening goal. He made up for it entirely by keeping things simple and with a gutsy tackle in his own box on Meling after Lille got the lead.
Bafodé Diakité, 6
Ismaily, n/a – Injured just after the half-hour mark, he badly struggled against the pace shown by Doué and Spence. Replaced by Timothy Weah. The American played right-back and could have been sent off for a mistimed tackle on Rodon’s ankle.
Jonathan Bamba, 5
Benjamin André, 7
Edon Zhegrova, 8 – He was a constant threat for Rennes and was rewarded with a well-taken equalizer. He laid it on a plate for Cabella to score Lille’s second. A match-winner for les Dogues.
André Gomes, 7 – Involved in the opener, he looked off the pace with Rennes’ energetic midfield and was booked early on. But he came alive in the second half, dictating play and pushing his team from deep to continue apply pressure. His goal sealed the win.
Jonathan David, 4
Angel Gomes, 5 – The former Manchester United man was nowhere to be seen and lost too many balls. To his credit, he perfectly set up the equalizer for Zhegrova. Replaced by Cabella, who only needed one opportunity to give Lille the lead.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval