Rennes have done the job and are whetting their Champions League appetite. Bruno Genesio’s players logically beat Saint-Etienne on Saturday during the 35th day of Ligue 1 (2-0). Masters of the ball, the Bretons came up against the Greens grouped together but were able to count on the influential and efficient Lovro Majer to unblock the situation (41st). The Croatian even offered himself a double at the end of the match (84th). Rennes has a second victory in a row and consolidates its 3rd place by putting pressure on Monaco, which will host Angers on Sunday. Still 18th, ASSE can expect the last three most tense matches.
As expected, the Bretons monopolized the ball in the camp of Stéphanois folded in the defensive phase in a compact 5-4-1. Faced with this block which closed the spaces and was reactive to win the duels, the Rennais struggled for long minutes. Majer placed his difficult little recovery next to the target (5th) and Flavien Tait, well launched into the zone of truth by Martin Terrier, did not obtain a penalty after contact with Ivann Maçon (10th). Surrounded by opposing defenders, center-forward Gaëtan Laborde saw little of the ball and placed his head out of bounds (22nd).
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Baptiste Santamaria came out of his unusual role as central defender well, but his header also went over (28th). Faced with this lack of inspiration, accuracy and precision from Rennes, the Greens finally dared to leave their own half of the field. Denis Bouanga nicely launched a counter and gave Adil Aouchiche, whose cross shot on the left forced Dogan Alemdar to work (39th). In the wake or almost, the Rennais punished this burst from Saint-Etienne. Majer took advantage of a discount from Terrier on a ball badly repelled by Eliaquim Mangala to chain small control of the chest in the race and shot from the left to deceive Paul Bernardoni (1-0, 41st).
Flavien Tait (Rennes) against Yvann Maçon (Saint-Étienne), Saturday April 30, 2022. / Ligue 1
Credit: Getty Images
This time, Majer takes care of the finishing
With 80% possession at the break (73% in the end), Les Rouge et Noir opened the scoring with their only shot on target in the first period (4 attempts). On resumption, Pascal Dupraz’s ASSE logically tried to react, but its center forward Arnaud Nordin came up against the reactive Alemdar on a complicated recovery (48th). Clearly superior collectively, Rennes was quick to regain control of the game, but fell back into their ways and Tait (52nd) then Benjamin Bourigeaud (59th) missed the target, as did Santamaria on a distant free kick (68th) .
With the approach of the last quarter of an hour and with fresh blood coming from the bench, the Stéphanois again went up a notch by wanting to be more ambitious. They quickly had to retreat, because their defense immediately struggled against the opposing sequences. Entering the game (75th), Serhou Guirassy came up against Bernardoni after a nice heel from de Terrier (83rd). A few seconds later, Mangala badly repelled an opening from Hamari Traoré and Majer sanctioned him by easily returning to the zone of truth to score the break goal (2-0, 84th).
The 24-year-old Croatian had delivered 3 assists during the Breton recital of the first leg, which precipitated the departure of Claude Puel (0-5). He offered his first double in Ligue 1 this time, for a total of 5 achievements. Rennes confirms after its demonstration against Lorient during the previous day (5-0) and is full of confidence before challenging Nantes, Marseille and Lille. Saint-Etienne, who will face Nice, Reims then the Canaries, is also preparing for a strong end to the season, but much more stressful.
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