Dembélé bags hat-trick as Rennes win derby
Teenage sensation Ousmane Dembélé scored a first-half hat-trick as Stade Rennais FC destroyed their local rivals FC Nantes 4-1 at the Roazhon Park on Sunday.
Stade Rennais FC 4 - 1 FC Nantes
Dembélé opened the scoring in the first minute and by half-time Rennes were 4-0 up, the 18-year-old bagging the first hat-trick of his young career while Kamil Grosicki also got his name on the scoresheet.
Nantes got a goal back in the second half courtesy of Adryan Oliveira Tavares before Rennes were reduced to 10 men when Giovanni Sio was sent off, but this was a convincing victory for Rolland Courbis' side and a first league loss since November for Les Canaris.
In a tight battle for European places, the result is a huge lift for a Rennes side who claimed a third win in their last four outings, while Nantes lose ground after seeing their 13-game unbeaten league streak ended just four days after they were bundled out of the Coupe de France in the quarter-finals by FC Sochaux-Montbéliard of Ligue 2.
The day got off to the worst possible start for the visitors as Dembélé opened the scoring inside the first minute, prodding home from the edge of the box after Alejandro Bedoya had headed out a free-kick into his path.
Rennes doubled their advantage on the quarter-hour mark as Polish international Grosicki controlled a ball forward by Romain Danzé and got enough contact on his shot to beat Rémy Riou and find the net for his second goal in as many games.
Nantes all at sea
Nantes never got going and they fell further behind just after the midway point in the first half. Dembélé floated in a free-kick, and with the away defence all at sea, Cheik M'Bengue threw himself at the ball. The full-back did not appear to get a touch, but Riou was beaten as the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Michel Der Zakarian's side have built their success in recent seasons on a solid defence but they were all over the place at the back here and Dembélé missed two good chances to complete his hat-trick before he did so right on half-time, latching onto a Sio pass and turning away from Lorik Cana before beating the 'keeper with a low strike for his ninth goal in a Ligue 1 career that only began in November.
Rennes could not maintain the same level of intensity in the second half and Nantes succeeded in getting a goal back on the hour mark when Adrien Thomasson set up the Brazilian Adryan for a first-time finish.
Sio was sent off in the 66th minute for a second yellow card when he led with his arm in an aerial challenge with Youssouf Sabaly, but the damage was done for the visitors, even if only the post stopped substitute Yacine Bammou pulling another goal back late on.