RECAP: RENNES 2 - 0 VALENCIENNES
Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes made it two in a row on Sunday, securing an important win against Valenciennes as the two meddling teams traded places in the standings.
With Rennes' last away win coming against Nancy in December, Coach Frederic Antonetti was looking for a good result against Valenciennes to help Les Rouges et Noirs add some competition to an already crowded top half of the standings.
Abdou Kader Mangane returned to the lineup in the center of defense after serving a suspension for a red card against Montpellier. Bocanegra earned his fourth consecutive start at left-back, helping the Rennes defense record their second straight shutout
Valenciennes looked more dangerous from the whistle, with Gregory Pujol connecting well on an overhead kick in the third minute after a pinpoint cross from Fahid Ben Khalfallah on the right wing.
The home team continued their early spell of possession and Rudy Mater nearly made it count with a 20th minute free-kick, but Nicolas Douchez punched the ball to safety.
It was Rennes, however, who broke the deadlock with a well-worked move six minutes later: Jimmy Briand lofting a ball to the far post that Sylvain Marveaux took down with an outstretched foot before finishing past a flat-footed Nicolas Penneteau.
The unexpected goal injected a valuable confidence into Rennes. In the 39th minute, another slick passing move caught the Valenciennes defense off guard: Fabien Lemoine playing a neat one-two with Briand on the edge of the box before crossing to Asamoah Gyan who tapped in for his ninth goal of the season.
Minutes after halftime, Rennes almost made it three when Alexander Tettey forced a save from Penneteau after a backheel from Briand.
The game took an ugly turn when Siaka Tiene picked up his second yellow card in the 78th minute for a tackle from behind on Yann M'Vila. Ten minutes later, Bocanegra almost made him pay, cutting past Mater into the box and picking out Marveaux who could only blast over from 12 yards.
Rennes move up to eighth place in the standings while Valenciennes drop to tenth. Rennes host Toulouse next Saturday