Week 5 Match Report: Stade Rennais v Paris Saint German 13 September 2014
The new improved Stade Rennais march on after the afternoon’ game against champions PSG finished 1-1. That’s now four games unbeaten for les Rouges et Noirs as they sit temporarily third in Ligue 1.
A near capacity crowd welcomed the players onto the pitch as both teams came into the match on the back of wins in week four. The opening thirty minutes went by with not much action but plenty of PSG possession. The first big chance fell to the away side as Lucas Moura floated a long ball over the Rennes defence. Edson Mexer could only get a slight touch with his head before Zlatan Ibrahimovic improvised well with an overhead kick only to see it saved by Benoit Costil. Rennes fashioned their first chance minutes later as Sanjin Prcic did well to beat his man before curling an effort which was comfortably saved by Salvatore Sirigu. PSG were inches away from taking the lead shortly after as a wonderful long ball from Marco Verratti found Ibrahimovic in the Rennes box but his cushioned volley smacked back off the crossbar. This should have served as a big warning for the home side but they failed to react as moment later a Gregory Van Der Wiel cross evaded everyone except for Zoumana Camara as the veteran central defender slotted home. That was pretty much the last action of the half as PSG went into the break with the lead their domination in possession warranted.
Rennes began the second half much brighter as Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ola Toivonen fashioned half chances for les Rouges et Noirs. Ten minutes into the second half and Philippe Montanier made his first change as Paul-Georges Ntep came on for Pedro Henrique. Seconds later and Rennes were level in bizarre circumstances. The ball was played out to Ntep on the right, he cut in and crossed for Doucoure. As the PSG defence froze, incorrectly assuming Doucoure to be offside, the Rennes number eight played at but missed the ball as the unintentional dummy fooled Sirigu and the ball rolled into the net. A significant stroke of fortune for the home side but as the second half went on, it proved to be a deserved slice of luck. All of a sudden Rennes were in the ascendancy and had the best chance to take the lead shortly after. Toivonen, on the counter attack, played a long ball up field. Ntep showed blistering pace to charge beyond Maxwell but his near post shot was brilliantly saved by Sirigu. At the other end, Costil made important saves from an Edinson Cavani shot and crosses from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Van Der Wiel. As the game entered the last ten minutes it became clear both teams were settling for the draw as both sets of players looked tired and with the PSG players with half an eye on their midweek Champions League game. Rennes had one final chance with a free kick late on but it was wasted as the referee blew the final whistle.
A really encouraging performance from Rennes after a poor first half. There was a degree of organisation in the defence we haven’t seen for a while. There really does seem to be an excellent relationship blossoming between Mexer and Sylvain Armand with Mexer providing the pace and Armand the experience. In front of them, Gelson Fernandes continued his brilliant start to life back in Ligue 1 as he put in a superb performance full, breaking up attack after attack and providing an reassuring presence in front of the defence. Henrique and Ntep provided lots of pace and menace down the wings. Costil, again, provided a number of crucial saves and interceptions as he continued to stake his claim as the best goalkeeper in the division. Toivonen put in his usual sterling effort up front as with little support he fought for the ball, came deep where needed and was a nuisance where possible. In terms of negatives, players such as Doucoure and Vincent Pajot need reduce the number of misplaced passes they make. Prcic needs to get involved in the game more as whilst he has the skill and talent to succeed, he is too often anonymous in the game.
Up next for Rennes is a trip to Marseille next Saturday afternoon. A repeat of the win from last season would be most welcome and with renewed optimism slowly creeping into the side, it wouldn’t be out of the question.
Montanier: “It’s satisfying to have equalised. The second half was satisfying, too. We were more enterprising, more incisive going forward against a Paris team that is always difficult to play against. We knew that they are capable of exploiting the slightest weakness – you saw that – so we couldn’t show them any weakness. We also wanted to optimise our use of the ball, which we struggled to do in the first half and did better in the second. I think we stayed very united. The goal before half-time hurt us a bit, but the players maintained the same attitude, the same solidarity and cohesion – that was important.”
Romain Danze: “Taking a point against Paris is always a good result. This result allows us not to have too much pressure before a series of tough games. We put a lot of heart to apply our defensive instructions. Of course, Paris made the game yet we coped with our resources. It’s not a great spectacle but we are here to win points.”
Fernandes: “Paris consistently dominated this match in particular with their technical mastery. They are a great team. We produced a second half full of power and desire. With even more luck, we could have completed a robbery. We have a tough schedule, we’ve got by well so far this season. Tonight we completed a good plan.”
Stade Rennais: Costil, Danze (C), Mexer, Armand, M’Bengue, Fernandes, Pajot (Konradsen 86′), Henrique (Ntep 55′), Doucoure, Prcic (Moreira 78′), Toivonen
Goal: Ntep 55′
Yellow Card: M’Bengue 77′
PSG: Sirigu, Van Der Wiel, Camara, Marquinhos, Maxwell, Motta (Matuidi 72′), Verratti, Pastore (Cabaye 83′), Lucas (Lavezzi 72′), Cavani, Ibrahimovic (C)
Goal: Camara 43′
Yellow Card: Verratti 76′
Man of the Match
Gelson Fernandes – the Swiss international put in one of his best performances to date against the champions. He broke up countless attacks and disrupted the PSG forward line to limit the chances of them finding the dangerous Ibrahimovic. Quickly looking like one of the signings of the season.
Photos courtesy of: @antoinegbt, @MenardMalika, AFP.