RECAP: MONTPELLIER 3 – 1 RENNES
Carlos Bocanegra went the distance but ten-men Rennes were swept aside by Montpellier as the upstarts from Languedoc-Roussillon returned to their winning ways.
Rennes slumped to their fourth-consecutive defeat at Montpellier, while Les Pailladins moved into first place alongside league-leaders Bordeaux, who have two games in hand.
The visitors were first out of the gates, with Jimmy Briand playing Sylvain Marveaux through on goal in the 10th minute, but the mercurial winger failed to finish past keeper Geoffrey Jourdren.
Marveaux's older brother, Joris, made no such mistake at the other end fifteen minutes later. A dangerous free-kick from the left wing by Alberto Costa exposed some woeful defending by Rennes, and Marveaux the elder put the home team ahead with his shoulder instead of his head. Not the prettiest of goals, but Montpellier didn't complain.
Montpellier's Marveaux wrapped up an early double in the 36th minute after more slack marking from Rennes. Another Costa free-kick, this one about twenty yards back from his first, was swatted away by keeper Nicolas Douchez, but only as far as Marveaux who controlled and finished expertly from a tight angle.
Rennes continued to struggle with the attacking threat of Costa early on in the second half, the Argentinean testing Douchez with two free kicks minutes apart.
In the 70th minute, Rennes had seemingly played their way back into the game when Jimmy Briand scored with a tidy finish past Jourdren in the box after Gyan had nodded the ball into his path. Briand's last goal against the home team had come in the final match of the 2003-2004 season, a match which led Montpellier's relegation.
However, Montpellier seemed to have put thoughts of Ligue 2 far behind them as the hosts responded with a third goal in the 82nd minute. A quick counter attack exposed acres of space behind the Rennes midfield and Victor Hugo Montano threaded through to Souleymane Camara, who finished emphatically past Douchez.
Things took a turn for the worse for Rennes when Abdou Kader Mangane was sent off in the 90th minute for his second yellow card in the span of six minutes. Gyan was sent off after whistle for some choice words with referee Olivier Thual.
Rennes slip to 10th place in the standings and face Monaco at home next Saturday. Coach Frederic Antonetti will be ruing the loss of Yann M'Vila, who injured his Tibia late in the game. Mangane and Gyan will be available, but are suspended for the match against Valenciennes on March 14th.