Rennes roar back to winning ways against Amiens
Stade Rennais FC picked up their first win in eight Ligue 1 Conforama games, coming from behind to beat Amiens 3-1 at Roazhon park thanks, in large part, to Romain Del Castillo's second-half cameo.
Stade Rennais FC 3-1 Amiens SC
Rennes only had two full days to recover having dropped out of the UEFA Europa League in Romania on Thursday, losing narrowly to CFR Cluj, and they looked somewhat off the pace against their 14th-place visitors who, despite being just one point and position better off than Les Rouge et Noir at kick-off, boasted the division's joint-longest unbeaten run. Gaël Kakuta had the first real chance of the game when he got goal-side of Eduardo Camavinga and let fly, but Édouard Mendy in the home goal did well to turn it out for a corner (20'). Amiens will be without Senegal striker and last season's top scorer Moussa Konaté until after the international break due to a thigh injury, but Serhou Guirassy has been enjoying his uninterrupted run at the point of Les Licornes' attack, and he snatched his fourth goal of the season when he met Kakuta's first-time pass, turned Joris Gnagnon, and fired a shot inside Mendy's far post (34'). Having deservedly taken the lead, Amiens were only able to enjoy it for a matter of minutes, though, with Rennes getting back on level terms when Adrien Hunou reacted quickest to Jérémy Morel's parried header from a corner to prod home the equaliser (35').
Rennes turn it around
Neither coach made any changes at the interval, which was perhaps more surprising on the part of Julien Stéphan given recent European duty as well as the momentum of the first half. Amiens were close to pulling back in front minutes after the restart when Kakuta won the ball from Benjamin Bourigeaud and sped toward the Rennes box before looking to tee up Stiven Mendoza. The Colombian took a heavy touch, though, and the chance went begging (47'). Kakuta then got in between Mendy and Gnagnon and sent a header towards goal, but Rennes captain Damien Da Silva cleared off the line, sparing his goalkeeper's blushes (50'). Rennes' second goal was just as out of the blue as the first had been. Stéphan sent Romain Del Castillo into the fray for Yann Gboho (61') and the attacker's first act of the game was to set up M'Baye Niang after a smart one-two with Raphinha, the big Senegal striker - Konaté's international teammate - sending Régis Gurtner the wrong way with his fifth goal of the campaign (62'). Rennes had their tails from that point, and could have pulled further clear when Raphina went for goal following another Del Castillo pass, but this time Gurtner was saved by his crossbar (65'). There was to be no denying Les Rouge et Noir, though and they made the game safe when Raphinha converted from the spot (77').
THE PLAYER: Romain Del Castillo
Rennes were a team transformed the moment Del Castillo set foot on the pitch. The former France U21 international, now 23, is sometimes a victim of Stéphan's preferred 5-3-2 formation, and always looks happier wide of a front three. Del Castillo was also hooked after 66 minutes against Cluj, and not necessarily to rest him given he was on the bench at kick-off here. Amiens were on the back foot for the last half-hour thanks to his presence, though, his assist just reward for the hard running and trickery he brought to the equation on Sunday.
THE STAT: 50
Rennes ended the game having shared possession 50-50 with Amiens, which, given the shape of the first half, was quite some achievement. The Bretons also carved out 22 shots to their visitors' 12 in the end, running out as deserved winners.