Rennes pull off astonishing Troyes comeback
Rennes enjoyed their second victory over Troyes in four days, coming back from two goals down to win 3-2 at the Stade de l'Aube.
ESTAC Troyes 2-3 Stade Rennais
Rennes had beaten Troyes 2-1 in midweek in Brittany to qualify for the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue with an 88th-minute Romain Alessandrini winner. Here, Frédéric Antonetti's side produced a remarkable comeback and it was Jonathan Pitroipa, scorer of Rennes' first on Thursday evening, who produced the dramatic late winner on this occasion in a match in which the in-form Alessandrini stuck his fifth goal in seven games in all competitions.
Nivet and Darbion on target
Troyes, beaten only once in their previous six Ligue 1 home games, opened the scoring in the 24th minute. Stéphane Darbion nicked the ball off Chris Mavinga and crossed for veteran Benjamin Nivet to head past Benoit Costil.
Yohann Thuram-Ulien saved well from an Alessandrini piledriver before Troyes scored again five minutes before the interval as Jean-Christophe Bahebeck teased Kevin Théophile-Catherine before crossing for Darbion to score with a diving header at the near post.
Alessandrini sparks comeback, Pitroipa the hero
Rennes had been disappointing before the break but three minutes after the restart Alessandrini gave them hope with a free-kick that flicked off defender Florian Jarjat, in the wall, on its way in. Game on then.
Pitroipa emerged as the game's key figure in the final ten minutes, first pulling the ball back for substitute Julien Féret to equalise in the 81st minute and then, with time running out, calmly beating Thuram-Ulien after a Romain Danzé ball in behind the defence.
There was just enough time left for 17-year-old Troyes forward Corentin Jean, scorer of their Coupe de la Ligue goal on Thursday, to be dismissed for a second yellow card. He'd got his first in an incident involving Théophile-Catherine and his second for a late tackle on Danzé.
Season's first for Rennes
Rennes had lost all six games in which they'd conceded first this season prior to this one, making the turnaround all the more unexpected. A seventh win in nine Ligue 1 games took them to provisional seventh, while the gap between second-bottom Troyes and safety has grown to eight points.