TRAFTON KENNEY - Sunday, March 21, 2010
Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes continued their climb up the Ligue 1 standings after dismantling visitors Toulouse for their third consecutive win.
Despite missing attacking talisman Sylvain Marveaux through injury, Rennes had plenty of firepower up front with Jimmy Briand and Asamoah Gyan causing plenty of problems for the Toulouse defense all night.
Gyan nearly opened his account in the 13th minute, the 24-year old Ghanaian striker firing a low shot from 20 yards to the bottom left corner that goalkeeper Yohann Pele did well to save.
It took Rennes just over a half hour to break the deadlock with Petter Hansson the unlikely goalscorer. A right-wing free kick from Jerome Leroy in the 31st minute found the big Swede whose header looped over Pele for his first goal in Ligue 1.
Just four minutes later, Gyan made it two after a surging run from Briand in the midfield. Picking up the ball in his own half, Briand blew by three men before laying off to Gyan who sidefooted through Pele's legs.
Pele was replaced by Mathieu Valverde at halftime after the goalkeeper picked up a stomach injury at the end of the first half.
Valverde's first task was to pick the ball out of the net after more good passing from Rennes led to a goal a minute after the whistle. Leroy linked up well with Briand who squared the ball to Gyan to tap in for his 12th goal of the season.
The third goal from Rennes sparked some life into Toulouse. Just five minutes later, Cheik M'Bengue skipped past Rod Fanni on the left wing and cut into the box, drawing Nilsson and Bocanegra, before laying off to Daniel Braaten who finished well past Nicolas Douchez.
Some nervous defending from Rennes nearly led to a second conceded goal. A long throw made its way to Luan whose shot from the edge of the box found Douchez flatfooted, but missed the right post by inches.
Rennes, however, made it safe with an emphatic fourth goal in the 90th minute. Briand, who seems to have finally rediscovered his form after tearing his ACL just a year ago, took down a deflected ball from Bocanegra 30 yards from goal and laid it off for the overlapping Jires Kembo Ekoto who dribbled past M'Bengue before finishing with aplomb to the near post.
The win takes Rennes up to seventh place, just four points off Marseille who have a game in hand. They face 19th place Le Mans next Sunday.