Niang is Angers' nemesis
Mbaye Niang was at the double as Rennes beat Angers 2-1 to move into provisional fourth in the Ligue 1 Conforama table.
Stade Rennais FC 2-1 Angers SCO
Rennes have won five of their last six Ligue 1 Conforama matches, looking much more like the side that thrilled last season on their way to lifting the Coupe de France and reaching the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League. Angers are fading after their bright start and have now collected just nine points from their last nine league outings, and lost three out of three in this busy Ligue 1 Conforama week.
After victories against Saint-Etienne and Metz, Julien Stéphan's Rennes rounded off a perfect week. It might have been so different had Angelo Fulgini's shot not rebounded off Edouard Mendy's post. Rennes went in front (24') after Raphinha carried the ball a long way up the pitch. Niang had flicked it his fellow attacker's way and carried on his run to meet the former Sporting Lisbon player's cross and side-foot Rennes in front.
Rennes coped with Angers' sporadic and uninspired attempts to get back on terms and then moved two clear (80') when Raphinha took advantage of a poor defensive line to break away and again set up Niang, who once again side-footed home, although this time the finish he applied was with the right foot.
Angers set up an exciting finale (90+3') when they scored with their first attempt on target as Rachid Alioui greeted a Vincent Pajot front-post flick-on to score from close range. Stéphane Moulin's side, however, hadn't left themselves enough time to take anything from the trip.
THE PLAYER: Mbaye Niang
The Senegalese international striker's burgeoning understanding with Raphinha is helping Rennes turn around their fortunes. Niang is now onto seven league goals for the season, following his first strikes since Week 13, and at this rate he should be able to improve on last season's haul of 11.
THE STAT: 4
Rennes have won four consecutive home Ligue 1 Conforama games for the first time since December 2017.