Rennes' 2-1 home win over Strasbourg saw the Breton club rise to provisional fifth and deepened the visiting club's relegation fears.
Stade Rennais FC 2-1 RC Strasbourg Alsace
Rennes took the lead from the penalty spot (14'). Ismaïla Sarr was brought down by Bakary Koné, who had given the ball away to permit Rennes to go on the attack. Benjamin Bourigeaud sent Alexandre Oukidja the wrong way from the spot for his ninth goal of an impressive first season at the club.
Rennes were dominant and Sarr (17') went close to doubling the home advantage. Strasbourg attacks foundered on good defending from Romain Danzé (36' and 40') before Stéphane Bahoken managed an attempt on target (43'). Home winger Mehdi Zeffane (45') then went close to doubling the lead for Sabri Lamouchi's side.
Benjamin André (50') could have scored before Rennes did get their second (59'), a horrendous goal from a Strasbourg point of view. Adrien Hunou sprung the offside trap but Oukidja seemed to have the situation under control as he came out to sweep up, only to miscue. Hunou volleyed home first time.
Strasbourg gave themselves a lifeline (66') when an unmarked Dimitri Liénard supplied a fine diving header to greet Benjamin Corgnet's equally assured cross from the left. The goal boosted Strasbourg's morale and the Alsace club had further efforts through Jean-Eudes Aholou (72') and Corgnet (75'). Mexer sent a diving header wide (86') just after coming on for Rennes, who will qualify for Europe if they manage to retain fifth place.
THE PLAYER: Benjamin Bourigeaud
Undoubtedly the best of Rennes' permanent signings last summer, the former Lens player has scored four goals in his last five Ligue 1 Conforama appearances and is on course to reach double figures for the season. As well as his assured penalty, the midfielder impressed with the quality of his set-plays.
THE STAT: 1
Rennes have lost only one of their last 12 Ligue 1 Conforama outings, winning six and drawing five.