Summer signing Arthur Theate scored what proved to be the winning goal as Stade Rennais FC beat AC Ajaccio 2-1 in an eventful game on Sunday. Earlier there were wins for Clermont, Brest and Auxerre.
Stade Rennais FC 2-1 AC Ajaccio
Rennes were still looking for their first win of the new campaign as they welcomed promoted Ajaccio to a sold-out Roazhon Park on Sunday afternoon. They looked in the mood from the off, with last season’s leading scorer Martin Terrier stinging the palms of Ajaccio goalkeeper Benjamin Leroy before he got the breakthrough in the 18th minute. It was a fine goal, with Terrier collecting Adrien Truffert’s pass just outside the box, knocking the ball through the legs of Thomas Mangani and then firing low into the bottom-left corner.
Arnaud Kalimuendo – making his home debut following his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain – then also forced a save from Leroy as Rennes looked comfortable. Yet Ajaccio were handed the chance to equalise from the penalty spot in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Theate was penalised for a foul on Fernand Mayembo in the box at an Ajaccio set-piece, and the referee pointed to the spot. Mangani scored with his initial kick, but was ordered to retake the penalty because referee Hakim Ben El Hadj said he had not blown the whistle. The second attempt was saved by young Rennes goalkeeper Dogan Alemdar, standing in for the injured Steve Mandanda.
The visitors recovered from that setback to haul themselves back level early in the second half, as the unmarked Mounaïm El Idrissy headed home from point-blank range from a Mangani left-wing cross (57’).
However, Rennes were soon back in front, as Loïc Badé nodded down a Benjamin Bourigeaud corner for his central defensive partner Theate to head in his first Ligue 1 Uber Eats goal (62’). The home side then held on for their first win of the campaign as Alemdar saved well from Romain Hamouma, before Rennes substitute goalkeeper Romain Salin received a red card for dissent on the touchline, and then Lesley Ugochukwu was sent off in stoppage time for a rash challenge on Ajaccio skipper Vincent Marchetti (90+2’).
THE PLAYER: Arthur Theate
The Belgian international endured a nightmare debut for Rennes following his €20 million move from Bologna at the start of the month, as his own goal gave Lorient a 1-0 Brittany derby win at Roazhon Park on the opening weekend of the season. He then gave away the penalty which Mangani failed to score for Ajaccio in first-half stoppage time, but he made up for all of that by grabbing his team’s second-half winner against the Corsicans.
THE STAT: 6
Martin Terrier has scored six goals from outside the box since the start of last season. That is the most of any player in any of Europe’s top five leagues in that time, level with Fabián Ruiz of Napoli, according to Opta.
Elsewhere, Clermont Foot 63 made it back-to-back wins since their 5-0 home hammering by Paris Saint-Germain on the opening weekend of the season, as Pascal Gastien’s side beat OGC Nice 1-0 at the Stade Gabriel-Montpied. Amine Gouiri had hit the post for the visitors before Saîf-Eddine Khaoui put Clermont ahead in the sixth minute. They then held on, with Nice having both Mario Lemina and Jean-Clair Todibo sent off late on. Lucien Favre’s side are still without a league win this season and need to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit when they host Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday, if they are to reach the Europa Conference League group stage.
Stade Brestois 29 claimed their first win of the campaign as Jérémy Le Douaron scored two first-half goals in their 3-1 victory at Angers SCO. Bosnian full-back Halid Sabanovic was sent off in between for Angers, who fell further behind when Moroccan international Achraf Dari headed in a Youcef Belaïli corner in the 65th minute. Sofiane Boufal pulled one back soon after with the pick of the afternoon’s goals, but Brest took the points.
AJ Auxerre won for the first time since returning to the elite as they beat Montpellier Hérault SC 2-1 at the Stade de la Mosson in a match which featured four red cards, two for each side. Mamadou Sakho headed the hosts in front late in the first half, but they then had Khalil Fayad sent off within seconds of the second half getting underway. Auxerre were also reduced to 10 men in the 51st minute as recent signing M’Baye Niang was shown a red card, but Nuno da Costa brought them level with a lovely goal in the 70th minute, and five minutes later Mathias Autret got their winner from the penalty spot.
Ligue 2 champions Toulouse FC remain unbeaten as they drew 2-2 with FC Lorient in an entertaining encounter at Le Stadium. The visitors went ahead from a trademark stunning free-kick by Armand Laurienté inside two minutes, only for a horrible defensive error by Julien Laporte to gift Rafael Ratão an equaliser. Lorient then saw Terem Moffi have a penalty saved before the interval, and Thijs Dallinga put Toulouse ahead just past the hour mark after Yvon Mvogo had saved from a Branco van den Boomen free-kick. Nevertheless, another penalty allowed Lorient to leave with a draw, as Ibrahima Koné converted from the spot 10 minutes from time after a foul on Laurienté just inside the area.