Stade Rennais seized a golden opportunity to leapfrog fourth-placed Monaco on goal difference for the penultimate game of the Ligue 1 season on Saturday night. Cheered on by a bouncing Roazhon Park, Rennes were very much up for it, putting the pressure on early in the game. Monaco goalkeeper Alexander Nübel, though, was alert to thwart tame shots courtesy of Benjamin Bourigeaud and Lovro Majer
Rennes were showing a lack of ruthlessness, though – Monaco’s Ismail Jakobs lost the ball in his own penalty box, but both Jérémy Doku and Amine Gouiri scrambled and failed to make Monaco pay. Ruben Aguilar was then close to scoring an own goal having headed the ball goalwards, but Nübel didn’t get the memo. The German nevertheless ended the first half with a fine stop to deny a long-range effort from Majer.
The Croatian international was not to be denied a third time. Bourigeaud played a quick one-two with Hamari Traoré and found the unmarked Majer, who scuffed his shot home. The former Dinamo Zagreb playmaker came close to making it two, but Nübel was alert to deflect his vicious shot from outside the box. Rennes were now completely on top of proceedings and a harmless Monaco were ready to break down again.
Bourigeaud curled an inspired low cross to the unmarked Gouiri, who rifled past Nübel from close range. Cue jubilant scenes inside the packed Roazhon Park. Rennes’ only setback of the evening happened in the dying minutes when Steve Mandanda came off through injury. The Bruno Genesio-led side now climb up to fifth place and will travel to Brest for the final game of the season. As for Monaco, it’s a catastrophic evening, considering they have been leapfrogged by both Rennes and Lille to fall out of the qualyfing spots for European competition.
Rennes player ratings
Steve Mandanda 6
Hamari Traoré 6
Warmed Omari 5
Arthur Theate, 6
Jeanuël Belocian, 6
Baptiste Santamaria 5
Benjamin Bourigeaud, 7 – The energetic midfielder created both Rennes goals out of nothing and ran his opponents into the ground. He stepped up for the most important game of the season.
Lovro Majer, 6 – The Croatian international was Rennes’ most potent player when going forward and was rewarded with an all-important goal. He even could have had two to his name tonight.
Jérémy Doku, 4 – The pacy Belgian winger has dynamite in his feet, but he’s making too many bad choices with the ball to make it really count.
Karl Toko Ekambi, 3 – The Lyon loanee put in a disastrous shift going forward, loosing balls left and right and failing to strike an effective partnership with Gouiri or Doku.
Amine Gouiri, 6
Monaco player ratings
Alexander Nübel 6
Ruben Aguilar, 3
Axel Disasi, 4 – The France international was not as commanding a presence he used to be in his side’s defence. To his credit, an almighty slided tackle to prevent Toko Ekambi to put the game to bed.
Guillermo Maripán 4
Ismail Jakobs 4
Vanderson, 3 – Booked early on for an unnecessary lunge on Doku’s ankle. At fault for Rennes’ opener with Bourigeaud having all the time in the world to pick up Majer on the right side. An evening to forget.
Youssouf Fofana, 4
Mohamed Camara, 5
Aleksander Golovin, 4
Eliesse Ben Seghir, 4
Wissam Ben Yedder, 3 – A tepid showing from the France international, who diidn’t look particularly involved in his side’s performance, which is a worrying sight for a skipper. Hooked at the hour mark.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval