Woodwork comes to rescue for Rennes
Paris Saint-Germain had to settle for a point against Rennes at the Parc des Princes after the woodwork came to Rennes' rescue three times in the latter stages. Guillaume Hoarau had earlier cancelled out Jérôme Leroy's opener for the visitors.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Paris Saint-Germain / Stade Rennais FC : 1 - 1
There was a low-key end-of-season feel to the atmosphere at the Parc des Princes ahead of kick-off, but for Paris this was their last chance to impress before next week’s Cup final against Monaco and coach Antoine Kombouaré named a strong side. In fact, with the exception of Granddi Ngoyi, in for suspended captain Claude Makelele, this was probably the capital club’s strongest eleven.
Leroy returns to haunt former club
Eager to impress, the hosts looked hungry at the start of the game but were unable to put Rennes keeper Nicolas Douchez under any semblance of pressure. The visitors slowly found their feet and, after failing to make anything of a succession of set-pieces around the penalty area, they took the lead just after the half-hour mark. Jimmy Briand got in behind Zoumana Camara, headed for the byeline and turned inside before slipping the ball to the back post where Jérôme Leroy, a former PSG player, was on hand to apply the easiest of finishes.
Rennes so nearly doubled their lead five minutes before the break when Sylvain Marveaux skipped away from Mamadou Sakho to race through one-on-one with Apoula Edel, but the home goalkeeper came off his line to make a brilliant block. There was still time before the interval for Edel to make a good save high to his right to keep out Petter Hansson’s header from a Marveaux free-kick.
Rennes continued to boss the game after the break, and Leroy almost scored again with an audacious chip from an extremely tight angle, before Marveaux blazed over after being played in by an excellent Yann M’Vila pass.
However, instead Paris fought back to equalise just after the hour-mark. Christophe Jallet, making one of his regular forays forward from right-back, sent in a cross that an unmarked Guillaume Hoarau did well to stretch and divert over Rennes ‘keeper Douchez.
Saved by the woodwork
Kader Mangane almost put Rennes back in front eleven minutes from time, with a back-post header from Kembo Ekoko’s corner that came back off the bar. That may have been a sign that this match was heading for a draw, but home substitute Peguy Luyindula had other ideas, and he was unlucky to see a rasping drive from the edge of the area rattle the woodwork with Douchez beaten. Had his effort gone in, it would would have been worthy of winning any game.
Paris coach Kombouaré seemed determined for his side to record a fourth straight home win, and he ended the match with Mateja Kezman, Mevlut Erding, Stéphane Sessegnon, Hoarau and Luyindula on the pitch. He, and everyone else inside the Parc des Princes, will wonder just how they didn’t come away with all three points, as Douchez’s woodwork was struck on two more occasions in the dying seconds of the game. First, Petter Hansson inadvertently headed against his left-hand upright, before a Hoarau header from a corner thundered off the underside of the bar.
In truth, however, a share of the spoils was probably about the right result. It means that PSG are now unbeaten in their last seven games and can go into next weekend’s Cup final with morale high. Meanwhile, a fourth game without a win means Rennes’ already slim hopes of European football next season have faded a little more.
Andy Scott at the Parc des Princes