Bakambu clinches precious win for Sochaux
Sochaux notched what could prove a crucial three points as striker Cédric Bakambu scored twice to see of Rennes 2-1 on Saturday night. Les Lionceaux are now 19th, just six points away from safety, while Rennes slip to 15th.
FC Sochaux-Montbéliard 2 - 1 Stade Rennais FC
Wins have been few and far between for struggling Sochaux this season, but Saturday night's visit of Rennes saw Hervé Renard's men seize the opportunity to claim just their second victory of the league season - their first under Renard - to climb off the foot of the table as Congolese striker Bakambu made Rennes pay for a below-par performance at the Stade Bonal.
Threat pays off
Coming off four successive league defeats as well as a 3-0 Coupe de la Ligue elimination at the hands of Nice in mid-week, Sochaux came out firing and, after the attacking pair of Bakambu and Roy Contout twice threatened to break down the visiting defence, took a deserved lead 18 minutes in. Rennes defender Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik was at fault as he brought the menacing Contout down and Bakambu made no mistake from the resulting spot-kick, beating Benoît Costil for his fifth goal of the season (18').
Despite the absence of playmaker Julien Féret, the visitors responded strongly and threatened as star midfielder Romain Alessandrini's powerful shot drew a diving save from Pierrick Cros (26') and Burkinabé dribbler Jonathan Pitroipa fired in an angled effort (32').
Three in four for Alessandrini
In the end it was another penalty that saw the two sides go into the break on level terms. A howler from Cros left Alessandrini an open goal to shoot at, and even though he was brought down irregularly in the area, the Rennes number 22 got his goal from the spot - his third in four matches - with a deft wrong-footing of the Sochaux glovesman (41').
Like Sochaux, Rennes' recent results have left something to be desired (four consecutive losses in all competitions) but, despite some more fine work from Pitroipa and a Vincent Pajot strike ruled out for off-side (50'), Philippe Montanier's men were overrun by a determined Sochaux outfit in the second half.
Bakambu wraps it up
Defender Sylvain Armand's timely header denied Bakambu a golden opportunity (52') but the Republic of Congo international's determination paid off on 71 minutes when, after a neat one-two with Vincent Nogueira, he held off Kana-Biyik and beat Costil with a right-footed finish (71').
Bakambu's sixth of the season turned out to be the winner, but only thanks to Julien Faussurier's last-ditch save off the line after Armand had got his header on target in the dying minutes (85').The result sees Les Lionceaux - who go into the break on a much-needed high - leapfrog Ajaccio into 19th place, while Rennes will have to wait until Week 20's visit of Nice on January 11 to redress their wayward league form.