Hunou the difference as Rennes down Metz
Stade Rennais FC pulled up to seventh in the table with a 1-0 win over FC Metz, with Adrien Hunou getting the only goal of the game at the Stade Saint-Symphorien.
FC Metz 0-1 Stade Rennais FC
It was a clear evening in Brittany but the path to goal proved foggy for both teams in the early exchanges. Nearly half an hour was gone before the first real chance of the game. AS Monaco-owned Adama Traoré found Habib Maïga on the right-hand side and the Ivorian international cut inside and let fly, but Édouard Mendy flew across the home goal to turn the effort out for a corner (24'). Instead it was Rennes who opened ther scoring with the half drawing to a close. Raphinha - who had scored in each of his last three league games - turned maker, finding Romain Del Castillo in space on the flank. The winger then crossed for Hunou, who was left with simple finish for his fifth goal of the season (39'). Metz's luck took a turn for the worse when their No.1 Alexandre Oukidja oulled up injured, to be replaced by Paul Delecroix (45'+1), and there was a palpable sense of foreboding when among the home support when referee Karim Abed blew his whistle for half-time.
Rennes too strong
The second half was barely five minutes old when debuting goalkeeper was called into action. Mamadou Fofana did't help his goalkeeper, mis-controlling in the box to allow Benjamin Bourigeaud in, but the home side's blushes were spared with Rennes midfielder only finding the outside side-netting (50'). Vincent Hognon and opposite number Julien Stéphan both brought fresh legs on around the hour mark, with strikers Thierry Ambrose and M'Baye Niang entering the fray for Metz and Rennes respectively, but both teams continued to sit back, with another Bourigeaud effort from range, sailing high into the stands (66'), about the best either could muster until the dying minutes. Profligate with his chances from open play, Bourigeaud nearly made some amends with a free-kick late on, but Delecroix did well to follow the trajectory of the ball and turn it around his post (82') before it ended 1-0.
THE PLAYER: Benjamin Bourigeaud
Bourigeaud has struggled for playing time this season, with Eduardo Camavinga and Clément Grenier Stéphan's preferred central midfielders this term. The latter was ill for this encounter, and Bourigeaud did his chances for further inclusion little harm in the former Olymapique Lyonnais and AS Roma man's absence.
THE STAT: 5
Hunou pulled level with Niang as Rennes' top scorer with five goals this season. Second until five weeks into the season, the lack of a cutting edge has let Rennes down in recent weeks, but if they can keep winning ugly, they could find themselves back in the European mix soon.