Having battled their way through the Intertoto Cup to reach UEFA Cup qualifying, it seemed that the Rennes squad’s curtailed summer would come to naught as they slipped to a 2-1 loss in Norway. Moussa Sow’s spectacular late consolation in that fixture would prove crucial as it allowed Rennes to gain a real foothold in the tie.
When Jérôme Leroy bundled Rennes ahead yesterday evening, the Bretons held the upper hand by virtue of their away goal in the first leg. Les Rouges et Noirs continued their pressure into the second half and grabbed a vital second through Leroy late on.
Head coach Guy Lacombe was left delighted with the efforts this side had made. “We played a European match of real quality,” he effused to the club’s official website after the full-time whistle, “We knew that we had to step up our game from an intensity and tactical point of view. We created many chances for ourselves. Not to concede was very important to our qualification hopes. I am happy because we did our job and gave the support some pleasure with our play.”
Young midfielder Fabien Lemoine asserts that it was Rennes’ work when they did not have possession that was the differentiating factor between the sides. “We hustled them from the start,” he chirped, “We imposed our style of play onto the game as we frightened and badgered them. Then we started to win a lot of possession and create chances that eventually paid off.”