Ngbakoto stunner wins derby for Guingamp
By A. Scott
Yeni Ngbakoto's stunning strike with virtually the last kick of the game gave EA Guingamp a 1-0 victory in the Brittany derby against Stade Rennais FC at Roazhon Park on Sunday.
Stade Rennais FC 0 - 1 EA Guingamp
This was a frantic and entertaining contest but it looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate before Ngbakoto struck in quite stunning fashion in the second minute of stoppage time. Rennes had committed men forward for a Benjamin Bourigeaud corner, but Ludovic Blas cleared the danger and sent a long ball downfield for Ngbakoto to chase. He then sent a first-time effort looping over the stranded Tomáš Koubek and into the far corner before wheeling away to celebrate with the travelling fans.
Guingamp's second win over Rennes this season lifts them above their regional rivals in the Ligue 1 Conforama standings. Antoine Kombouaré's men had otherwise overcome a difficult start to the game and looked solid at the back as they ended a run of four consecutive defeats in all competitions.
Rennes handed a first start, and a Ligue 1 Conforama debut, to Diafra Sakho following his arrival from West Ham United late in the January transfer window. The hosts started well, too, with Sanjin Prcić and Ismaïla Sarr both forcing saves from Karl-Johan Johnsson in the first quarter of an hour, while Wahbi Khazri shot just wide.
The visitors eventually grew into the game and they even thought they had won a penalty just before the break after a Jérémy Gélin challenge on Marcus Coco in the area. Referee Ruddy Buquet initially appeared to point to the spot only to then change his mind (43').
The clearest chance in the second half again came the way of the hosts, with Bourigeaud and Khazri doing well down the left before Sakho's effort was saved by Johnsson. Sakho then saw another attempt cleared off the line by Christophe Kerbrat after Félix Eboa Eboa's botched attempt at a clearance (65').
Jordan Ikoko forced a good save from Koubek moments later after a fine charge forward from right-back (67'), but that looked to be that until Ngbakoto's late heroics.
THE PLAYER Yeni Ngbakoto
The 26-year-old had been a long-time target for Guingamp, who finally got their man last month when Ngbakoto was allowed to leave Queens Park Rangers, where he had fallen out of favour in England's second tier. This was his fourth Ligue 1 Conforama appearance for his new club and he marked it with his first goal as he stole the limelight from Diafra Sakho, once his colleague at FC Metz.
THE STAT: 6
Guingamp have taken six points from a possible six against their Brittany neighbours this season, having failed to win either meeting of the clubs in the last campaign.