Arnaud Kalimuendo scored his first goal with a superb opener for Rennes as the Bretons maintained their momentum with a 3-1 win over ten-man Strasbourg on Saturday leaving Julien Stéphan's men still without a win in the 2022/23 Ligue 1 Uber Eats campaign.
Julien Stéphan was looking to break his side's duck against the team where he made his name as a coach, and the former Rennes boss' inside knowledge of Strasbourg's opponents initially appeared to give his team the advantage. Kevin Gameiro actually had the ball in the net after good work from Jean-Ricner Bellegarde and Habib Diallo, but the former France international was in an offside position (18').
Before the half-hour mark, all of Stéphan's plans were ripped up when Gerzino Nyamsi was shown the season's 35th red card: the former Rennes defender's high challenge on Benjamin Bourigeaud must have left its mark on the midfielder, who must have been hoping for a less painful way to celebrate his 200th Ligue 1 Uber Eats game (28').
He — and all those present at Stade de la Meinau — will certainly remember Kalimuendo's opener though. With his back to goal, the summer signing from Paris Saint-Germain stretched out a leg to bring down Adrien Truffert's ball before swivelling and firing past both Maxime Le Marchand and Matz Sels for a superb first goal for Rennes (38').
Martin Terrier, up against one of his former sides, came desperately close to doubling the visitors' lead in first-half added time, but his sidefoot effort from the edge of the penalty area was fractionally mismeasured, rattling back into play off the angle of post and crossbar (45+1').
It was not much of a reprieve for the hosts: four minutes after the restart, Kalimuendo found Terrier arriving into space in the penalty area, and he steered his shot into the net (49') to edge Bruno Génésio's men closer to what would be a third win in a five-game unbeaten run.
Strasbourg had drawn their last three league games at home, and would have gladly settled for a fourth given the circumstances, but they struggled to muster any attacking threat while the visitors created a clutch of chances.
Only a superb reflex stop from Sels denied Kalimuendo a second — the Belgium international goalkeeper instinctively shooting up a hand to keep out the striker's chip (53') — and Flavien Tait's low drive found the outside of a post (56') with Rennes seeking to put the outcome of the game beyond doubt.
Their dominance could have been put down to the fact they had an extra man, but it is far from certain that Strasbourg could have prevented Rennes' brilliant third even with a full complement of players on the pitch.
Bourigeaud moved inside from the right, and played the ball into Amine Gouiri, whose rapid exchange of passes with Kalimuendo presented the summer signing from Nice with the most straightforward of opportunities to stroke home his second league goal for his new club (61').
Bellegarde sent a long-range shot over the bar (66'), but Rennes riposted with a stinging Terrier volley that was well parried by Sels (68'). Habib Diallo did reduce the hosts' deficit by beating Steve Mandanda from the penalty spot after Hamari Traoré had felled Gameiro (73'), but it was never going to be enough to earn his team something from the game as the Alsatians' wait for a win goes on.
THE PLAYER: Martin Terrier
The Rennes forward's intelligence as well as his skill shone through again as he helped pick apart Strasbourg.
THE STAT: 20
Kalimuendo is the first player born in 2002 or later to reach 20 goals in one of Europe's top five leagues.