PLAYER RATINGS | Rennes 1-1 Lens: Bretons miss European qualification

Rennes had no choice but to beat sixth-placed Lens to maintain any hope of a seventh qualification for Europe on the bounce. The Bretons had a four-point deficit to the Artois side before their penultimate game of the Ligue 1 season. The home side started with intent, with Désiré Doué determined to impress for what may just be his final game at the Roazhon Park before a summer move. Julien Stéphan’s side kept the ball moving nicely but they lacked ruthlessness in the final third.

The first clear goalscoring opportunity fell to Lens’ David Pereira da Costa whose curling effort was parried away by Steve Mandanda. In the absence of Elye Wahi through suspension, Lens were missing their focal point in attack, and it showed with Wesley Saïd and Florian Sotoca making little to no impact. The visitors were struggling and there for the taking. Amine Gouiri missed a glorious chance to put Rennes ahead but he completely skied his attempt. Les Rouge et Noir went close to opening their account after some terrific dribbling from Doué, but Brice Samba came up big in the first half’s injury time.

Minutes into the second half, Rennes’ defensive woes return to bite them at the worst possible moment. Pzremislaw Frankowski’s cross from the right was deflected by Arthur Theate right into the path of the unmarked Angelo Fulgini, who lashed past Mandanda under the crossbar. The Belgian international limped off the pitch injured after a meaty tackle from former Leicester midfielder Nampalys Mendy. Désiré Doué missed a glorious chance to restore parity but Samba got a good read of his chipping attempt.

Stéphan rang the changes with a triple substitution to inject new life into his attack with Lens resorting to close shop. Stéphan’s subs prove inspired. After Samba’s huge save in front of Bertug Yildirim, Ibrahim Salah found the back of the France international’s net with ten minutes left to play. Rennes’ late onslaught for a winner was in vain. With seventh place mathematically out of reach, there won’t be any European midweek game at Rennes for the first time since the 2017-2018 season. A massive failure for a team that aimed for the Champions League at the start of the season. As for Lens, a home win against Montpellier next week should qualify them for, at least, the UEFA Conference League next season.

Rennes players ratings

Steve Mandanda, 5
Alidu Seidu, 5
Christopher Wooh, 5
Arthur Theate, 4

The Belgian international centre-back delivered a relatively composed first half but it was all in vain as he badly mistimed his header, which turned into an assist for Fulgini. The former Bologna defender had no time to make amends as he limped off the pitch injured, which could be worrying news for Belgian national team coach Domenico Tedesco.

Adrien Truffert, 4
Benjamin Bourigeaud, 5
Baptiste Santamaria, 5
Enzo Le Fée, 6

The former Lorient playmaker made his return to the Rennes starting line-up for the first time in a month and showed glimpses of what he can offer his teammates with intricate passes and press resistance

Désiré Doué, 5

The electric winger’s stock keeps rising after another display beyond his tender age of 18.  He still needs to work on his decision-making, as shown by his chipping attempt at 1-0 down in front of Samba. For some weeks now, he is the most exciting player to watch at the Roazhon Park. Tonight might have been his final game here before heading for pastures new.

Amine Gouiri, 4
Arnaud Kalimuendo, 5

Lens players ratings

Brice Samba, 6
Jonathan Gradit, 5
Abdukodir Khusanov, 6

The 20-year-old Uzbek has remarkably dealt with Rennes’ attacking force and won the overwhelming majority of his duels. Should Lens were to cash out on Kevin Danso, he may just the Austrian’s ready-made replacement.

Facundo Medina, 5
Przemislaw Frankowski, 5
Nampalys Mendy, 6
David Pereira da Costa, 4
Deiver Machado, 5
Florian Sotoca, 4
Wesley Saïd, 4
Angelo Fulgini, 6

It has been a difficult season for the former Angers striker. However, he found himself at the right place at the right moment to score one the most crucial goals of Lens’ season.

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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