Rennes warmed up for this week's UEFA Europa Conference League opener against Tottenham Hotspur with a home defeat to Reims on Sunday as the visitors picked up their first Ligue 1 Uber Eats victory of the campaign.
Spurs are the visitors to Roazhon Park on Thursday, and will have been heartened by what they saw from Rennes, who had suffered their first loss of the 2021/22 season at Angers just before the international break.
No doubt with the club's European bow in mind, coach Bruno Genesio shook up his starting XI making five changes, including handing new signing Gaëtan Laborde his Rennes debut. But the summer arrival from Montpellier could only watch as the visitors kept the hosts at arm's length before striking.
Reims have struggled to find their fluidity under new boss Oscar Garcia, but they were smooth in their build-up to Hugo Ekitike's opener, playing through Rennes thanks to a move started by Azor Matusiwa with Ilan Kebbal eventually pulling the ball back for Ekitike to open the scoring (26').
Serhou Guirassy thought he had provided an immediate riposte (27') but his effort was ruled out for offside. Benjamin Bourigeaud found the crossbar with a free-kick that beat Predrag Rajkovic but not the woodwork (56') with Rennes' luck out.
They also contributed to their own downfall, surrendering possession cheaply to allow Reims to counter-attack. Kebbal found Ndri Koffi on the left, and with the hosts' backline backing off, he cut into the box before bending a super shot around Romain Salin and into the far corner (67') to lift some of the clouds over Reims' campaign.
THE PLAYER: Ilan Kebbal
The 23-year-old has come late to Ligue 1, but after a solid season with Dunkerque in Ligue 2 last term, the attacking midfielder was clearly ready to make the step up.
THE STAT: 13
Rennes have not won any of their last 13 league games, losing eight.
Elsewhere, Lens remain unbeaten and extended Bordeaux's wait for a win this season in a thrilling 3-2 victory at the Matmut Atlantique. Jean Onana looked to have earned the hosts a point with a late equaliser (88') but Florian Sotoca, who had hit the crossbar earlier in the game, struck six minutes into added time from the penalty spot after Stian Gregersen had been penalised for handball on his Bordeaux debut.
Second-half goals from Gerson Rodrigues and Xavier Chavalerin lifted Troyes off the bottom of the table with their first win of the season as the newly promoted side saw off Metz, who have now failed to win any of their last 11 home games in Ligue 1 Uber Eats.
In Brest, it was a tale of two penalties — the opener from Romain Faivre (62'), an equaliser from Thomas Mangani (78') — as Angers, who came into the game second in the table, maintained their unbeaten start to the season. Brest, meanwhile, await a first win under new coach Michel Der Zakarian.