Ben Yedder strikes late as Monaco beat Rennes
By A. Scott
Wissam Ben Yedder smashed in the winning goal in the third minute of added time as AS Monaco beat Stade Rennais FC 3-2 at the Stade Louis II on Sunday.
AS Monaco 3 - 2 Stade Rennais FC
This game looked set to end in a stalemate that would not really have suited either side. However, in the 93rd minute, Tiémoué Bakayoko’s flighted ball into the box was helped on by Keita Baldé and fell for Ben Yedder to fire past Romain Salin in the Rennes goal.
It was a second of the afternoon for Ben Yedder, who now has eight goals in eight starts since joining Monaco from Sevilla in the summer. The victory - witnessed by tennis superstar Novak Djokovic, a Monaco resident - is a third in a row at home for Leonardo Jardim's team, who remain in the bottom half but move level on points with Rennes, who are themselves now without a win in nine matches in all competitions.
This game confirmed what had already been clear about Monaco this season, with Jardim's side again excellent going forward thanks to the lethal pairing of Ben Yedder and Islam Slimani, but porous at the back.
The hosts were missing suspended trio Aleksandr Golovin, Gelson Martins and Fodé Ballo-Touré as they aimed to get back to winning ways following their defeat in Montpellier just before the international break. However, Ben Yedder and Slimani were there and they again teamed up to give the principality club a third-minute lead. Slimani exchanged passes with Cesc Fàbregas on the edge of the box before picking out Ben Yedder for an emphatic finish from the opposite edge of the six-yard area.
Rennes come from behind...
However, Monaco's defence was exposed moments later. Adrien Silva's slack pass was intercepted by Adrien Hunou, who advanced on goal before forcing a save from Benjamin Lecomte after Kamil Glik obligingly stepped out of the Rennes player's way. The equaliser followed in the 12th minute, with Faitout Maouassa cutting inside from the left flank and continuing his run into the box, where he held off Glik and fired low into the far corner.
The offside flag prevented M'Baye Niang from putting Rennes in front just before the interval, but the visitors did make it 2-1 three minutes into the second half. Clément Grenier's free-kick delivery into the Monaco six-yard box was not dealt with by Gil Dias, who ended up teeing up Hunou in bizarre fashion to score (48').
Nevertheless, the hosts drew level again soon after when Fàbregas intercepted a loose ball by Jérémy Morel and released Slimani, the Algerian rounding Salin to score his fifth of the season as the hour mark approached.
Monaco briefly thought they had taken the lead again with eight minutes left when Salin came out of his box and collided with teammate Hamari Traoré, allowing substitute Baldé to run on and score into an empty net. A VAR review showed Baldé had controlled the ball with his hand and the goal was disallowed, but nothing could deny Ben Yedder his late strike that wrapped up the points.
THE PLAYER: Wissam Ben Yedder
The France international again combined with strike partner Slimani to do the damage for Monaco. Eight goals in eight starts is an impressive return from the striker, on whose shoulders may well depend a successful season for the principality club.
THE STAT: 13
The number of goals scored by the Ben Yedder-Slimani partnership this season. Slimani scored his fifth of the campaign and also grabbed a seventh assist for the opener.