Facing a home side bent on revenge for a 3-0 loss earlier this season, Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes marched into Lyon’s Stade Gerland tonight and took a point from the league leaders.
Rennes came out with a good measure of confidence, trading scoring chances with Lyon from the beginning . In the 12th minute, Bocanegra appeared to have given Rennes an early lead when, displaying an NBA-quality vertical jump, he out-jumped the keeper to put away corner for an apparent goal. Unfortunately, it was called back for a foul in the area.
Star Lyon striker Karim Benzema started after all but was effectively marked out of most of the match by Rennes captain Petter Hansson with no small amount of shirt pulling by the big Swede.
Bocanegra and Hansson both directed the defense well with Bocanegra also serving the midfielders and forwards with some clever through balls. Bocanegra also did a good job of preventing Ederson from sending any effective crosses across the Rennes goal.
Coming back into the drizzle from the halftime break tied 0-0, both teams played tug-of-war until the 63rdh minute when Benzema finally beat Hansson but then couldn’t beat Rennes keeper Nicolas Douchez. Rennes countered with a nice over-the-top ball to striker Jimmy Briand who muffed a golden opportunity to give his team the lead. Lyon then pounced quickly, thanks to quick and excellent distribution from keeper Lloris which was touched on to Kader Keita who then slotted the ball left to a criminally unmarked Kim Källström who cranked it into the Rennes goal for a 1-0 lead.
Rennes answered yet again with Briand being sprung by a through ball from Fabian Lemoine, finding himself once again one-on-one with the keeper, only to muff the shot in the 68th minute. Benzema left the match in the 73rd minute after suffering a sneaky hip check from Rennes midfielder Moussa Sow.
Both teams continued to probe and attack with Rennes shifting to a 3-5-2 in the 75th minute and Bocanergra becoming more involved in supporting attacks forward. Rennes applied good pressure on a tiring Lyon team from the 80th to 88th minutes and it looked like they would go home empty handed and frustrated by Briand’s missed chances.
But Briand finally came through in injury time, when a Lemoine long ball was flicked forward to him by Hansson, which he collected and fired home for a 1-1 draw. The result placed Rennes in 6th place with a total of 43 points, four of them coming against Lyon this season.