TRAFTON KENNEY - Monday, February 22, 2010
Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes were within minutes of securing a point at home, but resurgent Lille sealed the win with a late goal to keep pressure on league-leaders Bordeaux and Montpellier.
Bocanegra returned to the starting lineup Sunday, but could only watch from the sidelines as Rennes' six-match unbeaten streak at home was ended by the last-gasp winner.
Just days after their 2-1 win over Fenerbahce in the Europa League, Lille wasted little time from the kickoff. Just ten minutes in, Pierre-Alain Frau found space in between the midfield and Rennes' backpedaling defense, and slotted a low shot past Nicolas Douchez to give Les Dogues the lead.
Sweeper Abdou Kader Mangane made amends sixteen minutes later when he bypassed the midfield with a lofted ball to Asamoah Gyan. The young Ghanaian striker deftly flicked on to the overlapping Jerome Leroy who controlled and slotted past Mickael Landreau for a quick equalizer.
Lille coach Rudi Garcia was likely concerned to see Gervinho limping off the field after a clumsy foul by Bocanegra seven minutes from halftime. After the match, Lille medical staff confirmed Gervinho had sprained his left knee.
Rennes were lucky not to fall behind in the 41st minute when Lille's Adil Rami crashed a header against Douchez's crossbar after a well-struck corner from Ludovic Obraniak.
Bocanegra was substituted at halftime, with unconfirmed reports suggesting he had picked up an injury during the first half.
Both teams had chances throughout the second half. Frau came close in the 55th minute, but failed to get his shot on target. Mangane put a header on goal from a free kick in the 84th but Landreau came up with the save.
With a minute to spare, Lille finally broke the deadlock with some nice passing down the right wing. Eden Hazard picked out Stephane Dumont who forced a save from Douchez, and substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on hand to tap in the rebound from close range.
Rudi Garcia and Lille will be relieved to stay in the top three, but injuries to Gervinho and Debuchy could prove costly in the long run. Rennes drop down to ninth and will need a result next weekend when they travel to second-place Montpellier.