Following the traumatic 3-0 loss to Sochaux, SRFC responded with an important 1-0 victory over Saint-Étienne. While the victory was important as the first without Jimmy Briand, it also pushed Alain Perrin’s under-performing club closer to relegation.
The backdrop of the match was in its simplest form, les Verts, fighting to avoid relegation to Ligue 2. Far too good of a squad to be in the position noted manager Alain Perrin had Saint-Étienne well prepared for the task and for most of the first half kept Rennais under control. Following a early chance by Rennais, les Verts’ Mouhamadou Dabo struck the cross-bar only to be followed seven minutes later by Jérôme Leroy and Moussa Sow “one-two” that ended with Jérémie Janot’s nice save. The match was quickly opening up with a number of fundamental breakdowns creating havoc. Twelve minutes before the half Romain Danzé played the ball to Jérôme Leroy, with the final ball being nailed to the post. Pressing to attack in the left flank, SRFC found its opening five minutes in the new half as Moussa Sow sent a dramatic cross to the spot with Romain Danzé sending in. The dramatic goal, a highlight clip must, gave SRFC the 1-0 lead and the needed impetus to go forward. A later effort via the work of Jérôme Leroy and Moussa Sow is once held back Janot as Saint-Étienne searches for necessary goal. Tactically les Rouge et Noir cannot be broken down and finish the day with a 1-0 victory.
SRFC’s first venture without Jimmy Briand can only be called a total disaster as they lost 3-0 to Sochaux. For les Rouge et Noir with the loss the painful realization that hopes for European Football have been lost is now true.
Tactically Asamoah Gyan took Briand’s place with Mickaël Pagis in support. The start of the match provided little insight into outside as Asamoah Gyan dealt Mickaël Pagis a perfect chance to score but his attempt in front of an open goal was high. Without fail les Lionceaux roared back against the Bretons as Stéphane Dalmat and Mevlüt Erdinç applied pressure and were unfortunate not to take the lead as Romain Pitau goal was erased for being offside. However the hosts finally took the lead after referee Ruddy Buquet made a very questionable call as he called penalty on Stéphane Mbia for grasping Jacques Faty’s shirt. Just or not, SRFC was down by one as Ryad Boudebouz, a name for the future, drove the ball in. The goal invigorated stade Bonal and four minutes later Erdinç out maneuvered Rod Fanni and Petter Hansson before fooling Nicolas Douchez and making it 2-0.
At the half Guy Lacombe substitutes Moussa Sow for Mickaël Pagis with Bojan Jokić and Marvin Martin entering for Sochaux. Early into the half Rod Fanni puts Jérôme Leroy in perfect position to score but his drives stings the hands of goalkeeper Teddy Richert for a easy save. Just past the hour Julian Esteban enters for Carlos Bocanegra and ten minutes later Romain Danzé for Stéphane Mbia but Sochaux is sensing a way out of relegation and is in tight defensive net. With less then ten minutes remaining, Václav Svěrkoš sends in Ryad Boudebouz’s well timed cross for the third and final goal.
It was a difficult match to lose but in many ways expected given the loss without Jimmy Briand and Kader Mangane. While there is no replacing of Briand in particular, SRFC must find confidence for the remaining matches, starting with Saint-Étienne on Saturday.
The championnat returns with SRFC traveling to Montbéliard to face Les Lionceaux at stade Bonal. For the hosts, the year has not been kind to them and the match will be met with the fervor of a fight to avoid relegation whereas M. Lacombe must now adjust to the absence of Jimmy Briand. For their manager Francis Gillot, if the nightmare of a relegation fight wasn’t enough he has to deal with a further distraction of Stéphane Dalmat’s run-in with Paris police this week.
The key man in the attack was lost to a terrifying knee injury during a training ground injury for France and is likely out to the later stages of the calender year. Their is no “replacing” Jimmy Briand but the task will nonetheless fall into the hands most likely to Moussa Sow or Asamoah Gyan with Julián Estéban and Jirès Kembo Ekoko playing a significant role. However turmoil surrounds the Breton sde this week as not only have they lost the striker and Kader Mangane to suspension for the rest of the year but rumours are circulating of Guy Lacombe’s move to Benfica.
Beyond the loss of Briand and Mangane, there are a number of concerns with selection related to those with international duty. Rod Fanni duty with France should not pose a problem but late evaluations of Petter Hansson, Stéphane Mbia, Asamoah Gyan and Jires Kembo Ekoko will be needed with Carlos Bocanegra arriving late in the weekend.
The news of last few days has been terrible for SRFC. After losing Jimmy Briand in a training grounds practice with France, the LFP (Ligue de Football Professionnel) has suspended Kader Mangane till the end of the season due to his badly timed tackle of Valenciennes’ Jonathan Lacourt that resulted in the player breaking his leg.
While SRFC acknowledges the poor tackle, club Président Frédéric de Saint-Sernin said of the disciplinary commissions decision:
“Kader is a very honest man, who has been deeply touched by what happened and who expressed himself with a lot of emotion at the commission hearing. This accident is terrible for Jonathan Lacourt and Valenciennes, but Kader Mangane is not a violent player.”
Noting the players other infractions this year were non-violent the Président further stated the ruling was too harsh and they acted incorrectly as, “Football is a impact sport which unfortunately can cause serious accidents.”
The pride of Les Rennais Rod Fanni and Jimmy Briand being selected for France’s World Cup hopes have quickly soured as the striker suffered a serious knee injury in training, tearing the nterior cruciate ligament.
The injury occurred during training at Clairefontaine when Briand collided with Toulouse goalkeeper Cédric Carrasso. While original reports suggested the injury was not as serious, once the diagnosis was complete the reality of situation was that the mercurial striker is out a minimum of six months. The schedule for the surgical procedure will be decided upon today along with a preliminary rehabilitation plan however there should be no mistaking that the given the type of player he is and the magnitude of the injury, a full recovery cannot be rushed. Additionally given the striker was hoping for a transfer at years end, it is very possible that we have seen the final days of Jimmy Briand in Les Rouge et Noir.
SRFC hopes for a victory against Valenciennes ended in a unsatisfying nil draw as both sides ended up playing with ten men. The match commenced with M. Lacombe’s side looking focused and came close to finding the net at the eighth minute as Jérôme Leroy’ corner is redirected by Mickaël Pagis towards the net before being saved. While falling short of scoring, slowly les Bretons imposed their will and gradually picked apart Valenciennes. However any plans that SRFC had for the match took an abrupt turn as Kader Mangane is expelled at the twenty-fourth minute for a bone chilling tackle on Jonathan Lacourt, that caused a broken leg. Due to this, Elderson Echiéjilé is brought in with Mickaël Pagis’ day ending and the formation is juggled to suit the man disadvantage. Despite being a man down the next realistic scoring chance comes ten minutes before the break by Rennais as Nicolas Douchez launches a counter with Olivier Thomert heading the ball on to Jimmy Briand but the strikers effort is saved by Valenciennes goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau. Tension is running thick in the match with SRFC complaining to the referee, Monsieur Falcone on a number of alleged missed calls. After the restart the crispness of the tackles continue and just before the hour Carlos Sánchez is red-carded for a poor challenge of Stéphane Mbia. With the man advantage removed, Rennais looks for the much needed goal and a few minutes past the hour Olivier Thomert could not capitalize on being free in on Penneteau via Jérôme Leroy’s well weighted provision. Throughout the final twenty minutes SRFC control possession of the ball but the visitors are unrelenting and the match ends without a score.
Favoured heavily, SRFC advance to the semi-finals of the Coupe de France with a 2 – 0 victory over Rodez. The match was not taken lightly as cases such as these are prone to upsets, especially since Paris Saint-Germain fell for much of the same reason to Rodez. Guy Lacombe spared nothing in this première lineup with Jérôme Leroy, Olivier Thomert and Moussa Sow teamed with lone striker Jimmy Briand and it showed as les Rouge et Noir started the match with the vision of attacking the upstarts with quick with deadly precision.
Opportunities flowed like a spring waters from the winter thaw for SRFC early but with each glance of opportunity, Rodez escaped leaving the Ligue 1 side’s needs unquenched. Following Olivier Thomert’s attempt missing at the tenth minute, Jimmy Briand three minutes later adds his name to the “close miss” pile and an uncomfortable trend is developing. Well before the mid-point of the opening half Rodez tooled with their tactics and stifled the Breton’s sides advances. However at the thirty-first minute Jérôme Leroy sends in a corner that Stéphane Mbia challenges the defenders as he rises high to head into the netting giving SRFC the 1-0 lead. Down by a goal Rodez begins to go forward and as they do so, are exposed to the attack. Leroy flirts with the goal but Rodez dodges being down by two with superb goalkeeping work. Unable to break the lock of Rodez, Rennais’ frustration is eliminated at the hour as Moussa Sow creates space to the left before firing the ball into Jimmy Briand who then heads in his fourth goal of the Coupe de France. Following the goal, the match effectively ended as Rodez are locked without a scoring threat given the work of SRFC’s committed defending.
The victory moves SRFC into semi-finale along with Grenoble who defeated Monaco 2-0, Toulouse and Guingamp.
If the recent resurgence of les Rouge et Noir was like a cold winter coming to an end, Saturday’s triumphant comeback draw certainly made the statement that Rennais is ready to fight for a European spot. After falling down by two goals at Léon-Bollée to Daniel Jeandupeux’ Le Muc 72, Rennais poured back to level with the latest of strikes.
Guy Lacombe’s side fell behind in the second minute of the match as Thorstein Helstad got on the end of a rebound to score. Le Mans was full of confidence and with Rennais providing little resistance only sixteen minutes later Gervinho outwitted the statuesque defenders before deposited the ball into the net. The situation was bleak for the Breton ones and it wasn’t till the later stages of the half that they regained composure. Seeking inspiration Jérôme Leroy and Moussa Sow were called upon after the break and the comeback was set to slow simmer. A valiant attempt by Leroy was cleared agonizingly at the last moment but with fifteen minutes left to click Rennais shows what it is made of and orchestrates a brilliant comeback as Jirès Kembo-Ekoko showed a flash of genius making his way through the Le Mans onlookers before scoring. Yet the final glorious piece was yet to come as in stoppage time Leroy’s cross was sent in by Sow bringing the match to a 2-2 finale.
Was the result a draw or a victory? On paper a draw naturally but in-fact so much more, much more.
Like a cold winter coming to end, les Rouge et Noir have steadily climbed back up the championnat with the hint of spring to come. L’adversaire, in as much as it has been the club they face each week, has it has been their self but it appears those step backwards have stopped as Guy Lacombe has righted Rennais’ course. As they face Le Muc 72 at Stade Léon-Bollée, Daniel Jeandupeux has turned his clubs direction since joining them last month making this battle a delicious mix of two sides on a collision course. Surging forward, momentum has propelled the Le Mans club away from relegation concerns and they look towards a bright horizon.
Rennais looks towards their own immediate future brightly as Kader Mangane and playmaker Jérôme Leroy return to the lineup although Julián Estéban and Asamoah Gyan still need more time. The heralded return of Leroy provides les Rouge & Noir a near perfect lineup to choose from and a wealth of possibilities for M. Lacombe as it relates to Jimmy Briand and Mickaël Pagis. The key to the match on paper is likely the insightful work of Jérôme Leroy and Olivier Thomert as well as the challenging task for Le Mans to control Jimmy Briand but in truth it is whether Rennais can face its greatest adversary, itself, head on and challenge the top of the championnat once again.
Les Rouge et Noir perfect week with the mid-week Coupe de France triumph continued with a great 2-0 victory over the Auxerrois in the championnat. Only three points off l’OM, Rennais’ opportunity for the Champions League is straight before them now.
The Bourguignons team, near perfect over the previous five matches were victimized in the ninth minute by Rennais as a perfect wheel of buildup between Olivier Thomert and Fabien Lemoine provided Mickaël Pagis the ball which he crossed for the American, Carlos Bocanegra, to finish for the one goal advantage. The Auxerrois, going forward with three abreast were lacking until the mid-point of the half when Thomas Kahlenberg combined with Ireneusz Jeleń but the strikers effort was meek. A further inspiring play between Benoît Pedretti and Jeleń threatened but the day wasn’t the Auxerrois and the final touch was doomed for failure. With the end of the half nine minutes in-sight Rod Fanni and Romain Danzé launched an attack to the right and upon releasing Mickaël Pagis, the veteran crossed to Jimmy Briand for a stunning volley into the net.
Benoît Pedretti continues to create problems for les Rouge et Noir in the second forty-five but the home teams defending is disciplined and Nicolas Douchez is committed to keeping this goal free. The free flowing movement of Rennais continues confidently, a close attempt on the hour by Romain Danzé is launched but his final touch is short on quality. Through the final fifteen minutes the Auxerrois begin to infiltrate the final third but through the service of Rod Fanni and Petter Hansson, Nicolas Douchez’ goal is left untouched in a perfect week.