Rennes have gone to the summit of Le Championnat with a hard fought success...A controversial penalty kick decided a fractured and rather tepid encounter between Stade Rennais and Monaco in favour of the Bretons, who moved top of Ligue 1 thanks to their success.
With 62 minutes on the clock, Jires Kembo attempted to deliver a cross into the box. Nampalys Mendy inadvertently blocked the ball with his hand and referee Olivier Thual angered the visiting players by pointing to the penalty spot. Victor Hugo Montano blasted his kick straight down the middle, beating the diving Stephane Ruffier.
Prior to that moment, the game was something of a stalemate. Rennes had enjoyed the majority of pressure but had been reduced to a series of efforts from distance, none of which threatened the visiting goal too seriously. Ekoko was the main threat for the Breton club, with his trickery creating a good deal of space down the left, though his finishing failed to match what had gone before it.
On the counterattack the men from the principality threatened but Park Chu-Young’s finishing was uncharacteristically errant. The South Korean showed fine technique in the box to chest down a cross from the left, but his shot on the turn finished wide. After the break the striker would be the recipient of perhaps an even better chance, though he sliced a left-footed shot from little more than six yards out high and wide.
Rennes were the more threatening side as time ran out. Montano’s surge down the right into the box brought about a chance for Jerome Leroy, who was denied by the legs of Ruffier.
Against the run of play, Monaco very nearly levelled in stoppage time when Serge Gakpe’s effort from 12 yards nearly looped over goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez, who showed commendable balance to adjust himself and touch the ball over the top.
This late rally from les Monegasques was not enough to peg their hosts back, allowing the home fans to celebrate regaining top spot in Le Championnat for a couple of hours at least. Rennes have endured a difficult run of form lately, so they will be boosted by this victory.