Rennes hosted Reims at the Roazhon Park this Sunday evening for Julien Stéphan’s first game of his second tenure as head of Les Rouge et Noir. The former RC Strasbourg manager could have hardly dreamt of a better start with Amine Gouiri firing home a 4th-minute opener. The Algerian international was right on cue after Emmanuel Agbadou had failed to clear a header from Martin Terrier. Arnaud Kalimuendo should have made it 2-0 but the France U21 international lost his one-on-one against Yehvann Diouf. Reims were comprehensively outclassed and unable to match the hosts’ intensity.
Will Still’s troubles deepened with powerhouse midfielder Marshall Munetsi forced to come off with what looked like a serious injury. The young Anglo-Belgian coach cut an agitated figure on the touchline, pressing his team to ramp up the pace. Reims finished the first half strongly and struck gold just before half-time. Oumar Diakité crept in between Jeanuël Belocian and Arthur Theate to head home a perfect cross from Junya Ito. The goal was originally denied for offside, but VAR found Diakité to be onside by the tightest of margins.
Reims left to rue defensive errors
Remarkably enough, Rennes got their lead back a mere eighteen seconds into the second half. Benjamin Bourigeaud made no mistake in concluding a neat sequence of intricate passing that involved Gouiri and Martin Terrier. The former Rennes skipper proved instrumental again in delivering an inch-perfect cross for Theate to double Rennes’ lead. Reims were let down by individual mistakes in their defense, in which a Joseph Okumu-shaped hole was badly filled.
On the other hand, Rennes looked a more coherent unit with a back-three than they were under Bruno Genesio. Their first league win in more than a month will do them a world of good. Les Rouge et Noir are now 10th in the league whilst Reims remain fifth.
Rennes players ratings
Steve Mandanda, 5
Christopher Wooh, 6
Jeanuël Belocian, 6
Arthur Theate, 6
Benjamin Bourigeaud, 8 – Despite losing the skipper’s armband to Mandanda, the energetic midfielder put in a commendable shift as a right-sided wingback and got a hand on Rennes’ three goals. Gouiri’s opener came from his sweetly struck corner kick, he restored his side’s lead with a composed finish and then laid the ball on a plate for Theate’s header. Came off to rapturous applause.
Enzo Le Fée, 6 – A dynamic outing from the Lorient youth product. He looks at ease in a double midfield pivot alongside Matic, and showed glimpses of great skill to dictate play.
Nemanja Matic, 5
Adrien Truffert, 5
Amine Gouiri, 6
Arnaud Kalimuendo, 3
Martin Terrier, 5 – He is slowly building his form back after his highly-anticipated return from injury. Still, he has not found yet his goal-scoring touch, as seen by his missed sitter before his substitution.
Reims players ratings
Yehvann Diouf, 4
Thomas Foket, 4 – The Belgian right-back was at fault for the first two Rennes goals, needlessly conceding the corner for the first one and allowing the second one to materialize on his side.
Emmanuel Agbadou, 3
Yunis Abdelhamid, 4
Thibault De Smet, 4
Marshall Munetsi, N/A
Azor Matusiwa, 4
Teddy Teuma, 4
Junya Ito, 6 – The Japanese international was one of the very few Reims players who were up to the task today. He was a constant threat on his right side and assisted Oumar Diakité for the visitors’ sole goal.
Oumar Diakité, 6
Mohamed Daramy, 4
GFFN | Bastien Cheval