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Monaco saw off a spirited Rennes to ensure that they stay ahead of the curve for Champions League qualification next season. Niko Kovac’s side came into the match five points behind leaders Lille, trying to keep their faint title hopes alive while Rennes looked to make a late dash into the European spots themselves.


Monaco started brightly, trying to get in behind the Rennes backline while having much more possession than the visitors. The home side deployed a high press without the ball which was causing the visitors trouble in getting forward. That press produced an interception which helped Monaco race into the lead in the 16th minute. Golovin’s through ball slipped in Ben Yeddar who went one-on-one with the goalkeeper before finishing with a delightful chip.



One became two at the half hour mark. Monaco’s relentless pressure in Rennes’ half caused the ball to fall for Golovin. His 25-yard shot took a deflection of the retreating Ageurd which wrong footed Gomis in goal and put the principality club in firm control of the match. Rennes gained control of the match a bit more after those two goals forced them to go on the front foot. Nzonzi and Camavinga both drew smart saves from Lecomte with Bruno Genesio’s men ending the half on a positive note. 



Rennes gained control of the match a bit more after those two goals forced them to go on the front foot. Nzonzi and Camavinga both drew smart saves from Lecomte with Bruno Genesio’s men ending the half on a positive note. 


The second half started in a much more even fashion with both teams looking for the next crucial goal in the match. Rennes’ halftime change in bringing on Sehrou Guirassy in place of teen sensation Camavinga helped to attack in a much more concentrated manner. Kovac’s men struggled to create chances of their own with their high press on the wane.


The third goal did come twenty minutes from time but it was for the visitors. A cross from substitute Del Castillo saw Lecomte punch the ball only as far as Boureigard. The midfielder headed towards the goal and it might have been going wide. However, Monaco substitute Disasi, only on the pitch for five minutes, and inadvertently guided the ball into his own net.



After that, it was Rennes that kept the pressure on the home side. Monaco were having to repel a lot more balls into the box while having taken off Golovin, their attacking threat had reduced considerably. Rennes direct running was causing problems which seemed to indicate an equaliser was just around the corner. However, the opposite transpired. 



Rennes captain Damien Da Silva was sent off five minutes from time. The defender went in hard on substitute Ballo Toure which wasted a great opportunity for the visitors to look for the second goal towards the end of the match. Monaco held out to make it four wins from their last five league matches and strengthening their grip on the third spot.


Here are our three key takeaways from the match:



Monaco’s game plan till halftime worked flawlessly. They started the game determined to press every opposition player in possession. Rennes could not settle into the game like they would have wanted which led to Kovac’s men controlling much of the possession.

They led deservedly by two goals after 30 minutes. While the first was an exquisite finish, the second required a bit of good luck. Even after going 2-0 up, they looked to score more but were pegged back by Rennes who grew back into the game.



The second half saw the high press diminish drastically with the visitors playing much the better football to halve the deficit in fortuitous circumstances. Even though they were under the pump for the majority of the final 20 minutes, their strong first half performance was enough to see them through and almost certainly assure them of a Champions League qualification spot. 



Rennes knew that a win is absolutely necessary if they were to chase the clubs above them for European spots. However, their first half performance was abysmal. They were harassed whenever they had possession which led to them conceding two goals fairly quickly. Monaco looked in an ominous mood and it was not until the second half that Rennes really got their act together.



The second half saw the visitors much more brave in attack. Their halftime change worked a great deal as Monaco defenders were feeling the pressure from the relentless forward threat. They did manage to get one goal back through a lucky break and it looked surely like a matter of time before the second would come. Ultimately it was not to be. Some dogged defending along with Da Silva’s red during the final stretch confirmed a second defeat in the last three games for Genesio and co.



Kovac and co. hold a one point lead for Lyon in fourth which they will look to maintain in their final match against Lens. Before that, they have the Coupe De France final against PSG in midweek which will surely be another enthralling affair.

Rennes will be hoping Monaco can do them a favour by beating Lens who sit in the Europa Conference position above them. They host already relegated Nimes where a win will see them finish 6th if Lens fail to get maximum points in their match.

Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

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