Rennes do it again!
A late Ramy Bensebaini strike saw Rennes prevail 3-2 in an epic battle with Lyon to book a place in the Coupe de France final on 27 April. Rennes will face the winner of Wednesday's semi-final between PSG and Nantes.
Tuesday, 2 April, 2019
Coupe de France semi-finals
Groupama Stadium, Lyon
Olympique Lyonnais 2 - 3 Stade Rennais FC
After Lyon beat Rennes in Brittany 1-0 on Friday night, the pressure was all on Julien Stéphan's side as they made the trip to Lyon's Groupama Stadium to run it back in the Coupe de France semis, but they responded brilliantly, leading the dance all night and taking home a deserved spot in the final.
Mbaye Niang drew first blood just before the break, his pace getting him a crucial foot in front of Marcelo to turn home Ismaila Sarr's curling cross )40'). Although OL hit back shortly after half-time as Burkina Faso forward Bertrand Traoré showed quick feet to whip a loose ball home from inside the area (47').
Anything you can do...
Although the scores were level, Rennes remained on the front foot and hit the lead once more when Brazilian captain Benjamin André beat the unfortunate Marcelo to a header at the near post (55'). Rennes saw chances fall for Niang (64') and Hatem Ben Arfa (69') and Bensabaini (71') but it was OL who struck next, levelling matter once again thanks to Moussa Dembélé's penalty after André was penalised for hand-ball in the area.
Clément Grenier, now playing for Rennes, earned a yellow card to protestations after the penalty decision, but he had plenty to smile about as fellow OL youth product Ben Arfa teed up Benjamin Bourigeaud to shoot, with Left-back Bensebaini swooping on Anthony Lopes' parry to put the Brittany club back in front 3-2 with nine minutes to go (81').
THE PLAYER: Marcelo
Unfortunately Marcelo stood out for all the wrong reasons on Tuesday night. Beaten to the ball by the pacy Niang for the opener, the Brazilian centre-back was also caught out when the not-so physically imposing André nodded home Rennes' second. He was also left in Niang's dust just after the hour-mark, allowing the former Caen striker to carve out a chance on goal in what was an extremely disappointing night for the seven-time Champions of France.
THE STAT: 3
Although Rennes lost 3-0 to Arsenal to crash out of the Europa League round of 16, the number three has had plenty of positive connotations for the Brittany club of late. They scored three goals each leg of their 6-4 aggregate win over Betis in the round of 32; they beat Arsenal 3-1 in the first leg in Rennes; and they have scored three or more goals on seven occasions in all competitions since Stéphan took the reins from Sabri Lamouchi in December. It will also be their third Coupe de France final (after 2009 and 2014) in the last decade.