PLAYER RATINGS | Villarreal 1 – 0 Rennes: Bretons handed first defeat of the season with Martin Terrier missing penalty for his return

UEFA Europa League, Matchday 2, 05/10/23

On the back of a comprehensive home win against Maccabi Haïfa, Rennes traveled to Villarreal’s La Ceramica to further cement their credentials to extend their Europa League journey onto the knockout stages. Given the 2022 Champions League semi-finalists lost their opening-day game against Panathinaikos, the La Liga side flew out of the traps, enjoying the most possession. Alexander Sørloth steered clear of the visitors’ defense to aim a shot deftly parried by Steve Mandanda.

Villarreal eventually broke the deadlock through the Sweden international, whose powerful left-footed effort found Mandanda’s net. The experienced goalkeeper could hardly have prevented it – the same can’t be said for Adrien Truffert and Arthur Theate. A deserved lead for the 2021 Europa League winners, given Rennes’ inability to disrupt a cunning and proactive Villarreal side.

Les Rouge et Noir returned to the pitch with renewed energy and better ambitions, forcing Villarreal to commit fouls and setting camp in the hosts’ half of the pitch. The momentum switched with Stade Rennais knocking on the door around Pepe Reina’s penalty box whilst Villarreal relied on counter-attacking. Rennes thought they had a penalty when Reina collided with Arnaud Kalimuendo in the box, but the referee overturned his decision after he realized on the monitor that the France U21 striker had skied his shot before.

For the final ten minutes, Bruno Genesio handed talismanic Rennes striker Martin Terrier a competitive return, nine months after a season-ending knee and meniscus injury. Following a lengthy VAR check, Rennes were handed the opportunity to restore parity in injury time. Terrier stepped up, but he shot it straight at Reina and could not score the rebound. Rennes’ chance had passed. Despite a convincing second half and the substitutes’ contributions, Rennes were defeated for the first time this season. Les Rouge et Noir will host Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.

Rennes players ratings

Steve Mandanda, 5

Guéla Doué, 5

Warmed Omari, 5

Arthur Theate, 4

Adrien Truffert, 3 – The France international left-back appeared nervous and struggled to make an impact in Villarreal’s half of the pitch. He also accidentally perfectly laid up Sørloth’s opener with a misplaced header.

Baptiste Santamaria, 5

Benjamin Bourigeaud, 4 – In the absence of Matic, he dropped back deeper than usual to set his teammates up going forward. Despite a tireless shift, his decision-making was disappointing and he lost too many balls (18) as a consequence. Far from his best game with the Bretons.

Désiré Doué, 5

Ludovic Blas, 5 – A menace on his right flank. The former FC Nantes man’s dribbling was too hot to handle for former Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno. Given his shooting ability, he really should have taken more risks against 41-year-old Pepe Reina. He obtained the late Rennes penalty, in vain, unfortunately.

Bertug Yildirim, 3 – The tall Turkish centre-forward only won one duel out of four and failed to create a single clear goal-scoring opportunity. He was the first Rennes man to come off at the hour mark, replaced by Arnaud Kalimuendo.

Ibrahim Salah, 4

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

More European Football News