PLAYER RATINGS | Rennes 3-1 Clermont: Bretons seal sixth Ligue 1 win on the bounce before Europa League second leg against Milan

On the back of their 3-0 Europa League away defeat against AC Milan, Rennes returned to domestic duties in hosting bottom boys Clermont. Rennes simply had to win to confirm their recent uptick in form in the league and – why not – to boost their confidence ahead of Thursday’s second leg against the Rossoneri. Rennes manager Julien Stéphan shuffled his deck with Benjamin Bourigeaud, Adrien Truffert and the Doué brothers starting on the bench. Arnaud Kalimuendo missed out through suspension.

At first, the gap between the two sides was not obvious at all. Clermont could threaten the hosts’ backline as they please. Jim Allevinah went close to opening the scoring with a low cross-shot. Rennes replied with Ibrahim Salah missing the target from close range after a slick one-two with Martin Terrier. Les Rouge et Noir eventually took the lead courtesy of their newly-found strength: set pieces. A quickly-taken corner kick saw Salah curling a brilliant cross at the edge of the box for the unmarked centre-back Warmed Omari to volley home at point-blank range.

Terrier at the double

The hosts were then given a penalty with Monaco loanee Chrislain Matsima shoving Amine Gouiri to the ground after Terrier had dispossessed Maxime Gonalons with too much ease. Despite not being the designated penalty taker in the absence of Kalimuendo, Ludovic Blas took the responsibility, which seemed to anger Terrier and Gouiri. The former Nantes man stepped up to the spot and his powerful but too-central attempt was easily parried away by Mory Diaw, who made amends for his weak showing for Omari’s opener. Blas, who had shown very little since the start of his Rennes career, was booed by the crowd.

Rennes would eventually get their two-goal cushion. Left-back Arthur Theate put on the afterburners to dribble past Matsima. Diaw parried the Belgian’s attempt in front of Terrier, who lashed home emphatically. Minutes later, Matsima would reduce the deficit with a bullet header from Muhammed Cham’s corner kick. Les Rouge et Noir had no time to panic. Substitute Désiré Doué showed great skill and poise to lay it on a plate for the brilliant Terrier to make it 3-1.

Troubles deepened for Clermont. Struggling centre-back Maximiliano Caufriez shoved Terrier to the ground as a last-gasp resort, forcing Romain Lissorgue to hand him a red card. Rennes easily held on to a sixth consecutive Ligue 1 win, further strengthening their credentials for European qualification for next season. They will host AC Milan on Thursday with a three-goal deficit against the Serie A giants. As for Clermont, a Ligue 2 relegation is looming large.

Rennes players ratings

Steve Mandanda, 6
Alidu Seidu, 6
Jeanuël Belocian, 6
Warmed Omari, 7

The 24-year-old centre-back embodies his team’s uptick in form after a tough couple of error-strewn performances last year. He made close to no mistakes in keeping Shamar Nicholson at bay and scored the opener.

Arthur Theate, 7
Baptiste Santamaria, 6
Azor Matusiwa, 7

An industrious performance from the former Reims midfielder. In the absence of Enzo Le Fée and with Benjamin Bourigeaud rested on the bench, the Dutch dictated the press and shone by his passing accuracy (93 %). Who needs Nemanja Matic anyway?

Ludovic Blas, 3

The former Nantes striker had the opportunity to impress with this rare start. He has done the exact opposite of that. He was the least involved attacking Rennes players in the first half which he concluded in missing a penalty he was not supposed to take. His confidence looked to have taken a beating. Replaced by Désiré Doué, who brilliantly assisted Terrier’s for Rennes’ third.

Ibrahim Salah, 6
Martin Terrier, 8

With Kylian Mbappé heading to pastures new, there is a strong case for the talismanic Rennes striker to be the next best French centre-forwards in Ligue 1. The former Lille and Lyon man was the driving force for Rennes’ attack. He struck a quickfire brace with poacher’s finishes and forced Caufriez to deny him a goalscoring opportunity with the Clermont man rightly sent off. Brilliant.

Amine Gouiri, 6

Clermont players ratings

Mory Diaw, 5
Andy Pelmard, 4
Chrislain Matsima, 4

Despite a precise bullet header that put Clermont back on track, the Monaco loanee badly struggled against one of the most gifted attacks Ligue 1 has to offer. He conceded a penalty and got sent for a hot dog by Theate. Grim, but at least he managed to end the game on the pitch, unlike his teammate at the back.

Maximiliano Caufriez, 3
Yoel Armougom, 4
Johan Gastien, 4
Maxime Gonalons, 4
Muhammed Cham, 5
Bilal Boutobba, 4
Jim Allevinah, 4
Shamar Nicholson, 3

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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