Dijon edge Rennes to boost survival hopes
Wesley Saïd scored a late winner as Dijon FCO beat Stade Rennais FC 3-2 in a thrilling encounter in Burgundy on Friday to boost their survival hopes.
Dijon FCO 3 - 2 Stade Rennais FC
Twice Dijon had taken the lead at the Stade Gaston-Gérard only to be pegged back on each occasion, before Saïd popped up with the winner in the 83rd minute. He was just inside the penalty area when he controlled a pass from Fouad Chafik before dropping a shoulder to take out defender Damien Da Silva and then beating Tomáš Koubek with a composed finish.
This time Dijon held on for a vital three points in their battle to avoid relegation, with Antoine Kombouaré's side having taken seven points from nine available in April.
The home side had gone in front here when Naïm Sliti's corner from the right was headed low into the corner of the net from six yards out by Nayef Aguerd for his third goal of the season (20'). They could even have doubled their lead before the interval, with Saïd meeting a Mickaël Alphonse cutback with a first-time effort that Koubek saved superbly with his left leg (36').
Rennes hit back
Instead Rennes hit back to equalise in the 52nd minute when Adrien Hunou took a Clément Grenier pass with his back to goal on the edge of the box before turning and firing low into the net.
Dijon were back in front within three minutes of that thanks to Benjamin Jeannot. Saïd had gone on a great run into the box before seeing his shot saved by Koubek, but the ball flew out to Jeannot who volleyed home first-time from 22 yards.
Nevertheless, in a remarkable start to the second half, Rennes equalised a second time just after the hour mark when M'Baye Niang controlled a Grenier pass on his chest and sent an acrobatic overhead kick over Icelandic goalkeeper Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson and into the net. The goal was initially ruled out for offside before being awarded following a VAR review.
However, Rennes could not equalise a third time after Saïd's late strike, and they head into the Coupe de France final against Paris Saint-Germain next weekend having lost a lot of their previous momentum. This was their sixth league game without a win.
In contrast, Dijon are now sure to end the weekend in the relegation play-off position, and the gap to outright safety is reduced provisionally to four points before the rest of the weekend's games.
THE PLAYER: Wesley Saïd
The 23-year-old had already played a big part in setting up Jeannot's goal before scoring the winner in fine fashion. Having also netted in the recent victory at Lyon, this was his fourth Ligue 1 Conforama goal of the campaign, and it came against the club for whom he started his career before being allowed to leave for Burgundy in 2017.
THE STAT: 6
Six games without a win for Rennes, and just three points taken in that time, since their elimination from the UEFA Europa League at the hands of Arsenal. They will have to win the Coupe de France if they are to be back in Europe next season.