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Falcao saves share of spoils for Monaco at Rennes

Publish on 30/04/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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Radamel Falcao scored a pair of second-half goals to cancel out Adrien Hunou's first-half brace as AS Monaco salvaged a 2-2 draw at Stade Rennais FC on Wednesday night.

Stade Rennais FC 2-2 AS Monaco 

THE MATCH

Rennes rolled into this match as recently-crowned Coupe de France champions, and they made a confident start in front of a Roazhon Park support still celebrating Saturday's victory over Paris Saint-Germain. Less than five minutes were on the clock when they pulled ahead of their visitors, Romain Del Castillo winning the ball back in midfield and feeding James Lea Siliki, who crossed for an unmarked Hunou at the back post (3'). Hunou was an unused substitute against PSG, but he completed his double minutes later, bringing his season tally to six. Again, Del Castillo was involved, providing a defence-splitting pass, and Hunou made no mistake against Seydou Sy when one-on-one (9'). Rony Lopes cut inside and stung the gloves of Sy's opposite number Tomas Koubek soon after (10'), and Monaco had another few chances in the first half, but Lopes fired wide on the turn (30') and headed straight at Koubek (32') before Falcao fluffed his lines from close range (33'). Rennes could have taken a three-goal lead into the break, but Hunou was denied his hat-trick when Sy got down well to save his volley (37').

Falcao leads fightback

Monaco coach Leonaro Jardim sent attacker Carlos Vinicius on in place of midfielder Jean-Eudes Aholou for the second half but Rennes remained in control, initially, and nearly pulled further clear in a near-carbon copy of the opening goal when Lea Siliki found Benjamin Bourigeaud free at the back post, but unlike Hunou, he sent his effort wide (51'). Hatem Ben Arfa then came on for 16-year-old debutant Eduardo Camavinga, the youngster going off to a rousing applause after an assured performance in central midfield (64'). That meant more space for Monaco to exploit, though, and they duly took advantage when Falcao headed home from a Djibril Sidibé cross (69'). The 2016/17 Ligue 1 Conforama champions were back on level terms minutes later. Sidibé's rasping effort was parried away and Falcao was on hand to acrobatically volley home a stunning 15th goal of the season (75'). Sy tipped a late Del Castillo shot over the bar (82') and Monaco held on to seal what could prove to be a crucial point in their bid for top-flight survival.

THE PLAYER: Radamel Falcao

Falcao cut a frustrated figure for much of the game and even picked up a yellow card in the second half for protesting referee Eric Wattellier's decision not to award a corner, but the Colombian club captain remains one of the deadliest strikers in the game despite his 33 years, his killer instinct firmly intact even when the game seemed to be slipping away from Monaco.

THE STAT: 22

Monaco ultimately deserved their share of the points at the Roazhon Park, the principality side having 22 shots on Rennes' goal compared to the hosts' 13 on theirs. Jardim's side are not safe yet - they now have a five-point cushion on Dijon FCO in 19th with 12 still up for grabs - but if they show this kind of fight in the coming weeks they should find themselves playing top-flight football once again next season.