Guingamp relegated after derby draw
Marcus Thuram had a last-gasp penalty saved as EA Guingamp drew 1-1 at Stade Rennais FC on Sunday, a result which confirmed their relegation to Ligue 2.
Stade Rennais FC 1 - 1 EA Guingamp
Rennes fans were in the mood for a party on a sunny day at Roazhon Park. They will never forget the two Coupe de France finals lost against Guingamp, in 2009 and 2014, but the pain of those defeats was wiped out when they beat Paris Saint-Germain in this season's final last month.
Now many of their supporters would have been relishing the chance to be the ones to relegate Guingamp, who had to win here to keep alive their slim hopes of survival.
The game may well have hinged on the early incident which saw Rennes goalkeeper Tomáš Koubek come out of his box to save a Marcus Coco shot with his thigh, and the hosts went on to take the lead quarter of an hour in. M'Baye Niang's header on fell to Ismaïla Sarr, who scored with a lovely lob.
Rennes could have doubled their lead just before the break when Sarr's low ball found Niang on the edge of the six-yard box, but Marc-Aurèle Caillard spread himself to save well (44').
Nyamsi sent off
The visitors were then given late hope when Rennes were reduced to 10 men with 11 minutes remaining. Having already been booked in the first half, Gerzino Nyamsi was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Alexandre Mendy.
Guingamp made the extra man count as they grabbed an equaliser in the 87th minute, Mendy smashing in his first Ligue 1 Conforama goal since signing on loan from Girondins de Bordeaux in January after Lebogang Phiri's initial effort had been saved by Koubek.
They still needed to score again to stay alive and they were handed the chance to do so right at the death when Ramy Bensebaini slid in and blocked a Jordan Ikoko cross with his arm in the area. A penalty was awarded and up stepped Marcus Thuram. However, his effort was saved by Koubek, and the forward then headed the rebound wide (90+2').
Having failed to win any of their seven league games since losing the Coupe de la Ligue final at the end of March, Guingamp are now seven points from safety with only six points left to play for, and they will be playing second-tier football next season. It is now nine league games without a win for Rennes, who remain in the bottom half.
THE PLAYER: Marcus Thuram
It is cruel on Thuram that his late penalty miss should be the moment that relegated Guingamp. After all, he has been their shining light for much of the season, scoring eight league goals. It seems likely that he will still be playing top-flight football next season, even if his current club are not.
THE STAT: 6
Guingamp came back up to the top flight in 2013, and their six-season stay in Ligue 1 is the longest in their history, bettering their four seasons between 2000 and 2004.