PLAYER RATINGS | Rennes 2 – 2 Le Havre: Bretons let two-goal lead slip

After the 5-1 dismantling of FC Metz on Ligue 1’s opening-day, Rennes hosted the second promoted side in Le Havre this Sunday afternoon and hoped to go top of the league. Marquee signings Nemanja Matić, Enzo Le Fée and Ludovic Blas all started for Bruno Genesio’s side. Testament to the confidence oozing from the hosts, they only needed one goalscoring opportunity to go 1-0 up ten minutes in. Blas and Lorenz Assignon cleverly worked together to dispossess Christopher Opéri. The former Nantes forward’s first shot was blocked by Arouna Sangante, the second one found the back of the net.

Le Havre could have felt hard done by considering that an offside Amine Gouiri, who picked up Doku’s #10 shirt, seemed to have obstructed Arthur Desmas. Still, the Normans had all kinds of trouble handling their opponents. The returning Adrien Truffert missed a sitter after another light-speed counter-attack from the home side. Desmas then poorly parried an inswinging free-kick from Benjamin Bourigeaud and centre-back Christopher Wooh was on cue to make it two.

Rennes were in full flow when, like against Les Grenats, they were caught napping against the run of play. Opéri was left with too much time and space on the left to cross for Nabil Alioui, who outpaced Truffert to direct a really good header past Mandanda. Despite being mostly dominated, Luka Elsner’s side finished the first half strongly and returned to the dressing room with only a one-goal deficit.

The second half was more evenly disputed between the two sides. Le Havre made matters harder for themselves. Samuel Grandsir was given his marching orders by Eric Wattelier on the hour mark after picking up a second yellow card. The hosts were then guilty of blatant complacency. Loïc Négo easily beat Jeanuël Belocian, who had replaced Truffert, before finding Alioui whose perfect, although obvious, attempt of a right-curler beat Mandanda.

With a man down and a point in sight, the visitors tried to weather the late Rennes storm. Desmas came up big to deflect a low shot from Blas and Doué hit the post with a volley deep in injury time. Eventually, Le Havre bravely clung on to their second away point of the season. As for Rennes, they missed the opportunity to go top and lost two points that were there for the taking.

Rennes – Player Ratings

Steve Mandanda, 5

Lorenz Assignon, 5

Christopher Wooh, 5

Arthur Theate, 5

Adrien Truffert, 4

Benjamin Bourigeaud, 5

Nemanja Matić, 5 – He took his time before finding his feet, but the Serbian passed the test posed by his first outing at the Roazhon Park. The former Chelsea midfielder showcased his trademark vision of the game, availability and positional awareness. However, he lost the ball that led to Alioui’s first goal.

Enzo Le Fée, 6

Ludovic Blas, 6 – After a convincing pre-season but a difficult outing away at Lens, the mercurial right-winger wasted no time in making his mark at his new home. The former Guingamp and Nantes man may not boast Jérémy Doku’s dribbling ability, but he compensates with his tremendous activity, his passing range and his ball-striking technique.

Arnaud Kalimuendo, 3 – It was another underwhelming display for the France U21 international centre-forward. The PSG youth product was a hard man to feed the ball to and his decision-making let him down. His €25m transfer tag is becoming harder to justify.

Amine Gouiri, 5

Le Havre – Player Ratings

Arthur Desmas, 5

Christopher Opéri, 5

Gautier Lloris, 5

Arouna Sangante, 5

Yoann Salmier, 5

Loïc Nego, 6

Yassine Kechta, 6 – The Moroccan was his side’s best midfielder this afternoon. Even in facing one of Ligue 1’s best midfield, he stood out, played without fear and displayed maturity well beyond his age (21). Le Havre have a player to watch here.

Abdoulaye Touré, 4

Daler Kuzyaiev, 4

Nabil Alioui, 7 – The striker made the most of Rennes’ somewhat lenient defenders to make them pay, not once but twice. He went ahead of Truffert to head it in to halve the deficit. He then found Mandanda’s bottom-left corner with an inspired curler.

Samuel Grandsir, 2 – He had little to no influence on his side’s attacking play and was unnecessarily sent off before his substitution. After picking up a yellow card for a high foot on Assignon before half-time, he got a second one on the hour mark in catching the right-back’s ankle with a mistimed tackle. A game to forget.

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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