TRAFTON KENNEY - Saturday, March 6, 2010
Rennes gained a valuable three points Saturday at home to Monaco as Carlos Bocanegra continued his unlikely goal-scoring form with his second tally of the week.
Coach Frédéric Antonetti will be relieved to see his team snap their three-game losing streak, especially with key players Abdou Kader Mangane and Asamoah Gyan out suspended.
His Monaco counterpart, Guy Lacombe, knew the trip to Brittany would never be easy, having coached Les Rouges et Noirs for two seasons before handing the reins over to Antonetti. The Stade de la Route-de-Lorient has become one of the least hospitable venues in Ligue 1 this season, with Rennes having lost only once at home over the past eight games.
Monaco, however, got off to the better start with some early chances. Rennes goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez had to come off his line in the 13th minute to claim a good cross from Djimi Traore on the left wing before being tested by Alejandro Alonso a minute later.
A bad foul from Sebastien Peygrurier on Jerome Leroy in the 28th minute set up a promising set-piece for Rennes from 35 yards out on the right wing. Sylvain Marveaux swung in an inviting cross that just missed the outstretched foot of Jimmy Briand but Bocanegra was there to apply the finishing touch from close range.
Five minutes later, Rennes broke quickly with a counter attack into the Monaco half; Marveaux laying off to an overlapping Bocanegra and the American left-back delivering a well-hit cross which forced a sprawling save from Monaco goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier.
After halftime, Lacombe introduced Chu-Young Park for some added offensive spark. The 24-year old South Korean, recently back from injury, nearly made a difference in the 53rd minute with a header just off target after a pinpoint cross from Yohann Mollo.
Five minutes from time, Ismaël Bangoura almost added to the score line after good work from Bocanegra and Briand, but his shot was just over the crossbar.
With the win, Rennes move up to ninth place in the table with forty points. Monaco have now lost four of their past five games and sit in seventh. Rennes travel east next Sunday to Valenciennes, with just a single point separating the two teams.