Yoann Gourcuff came off the bench to score against his old club as Stade Rennais FC beat a flat Girondins de Bordeaux 2-0 at the Matmut Atlantique on Saturday to boost their chances of European qualification.
After a first half completely devoid of chances, it took an error from Bordeaux goalkeeper Benoît Costil to bring this game to life after the restart. He spilled a Wahbi Khazri shot onto the post and Ismaïla Sarr followed in to bundle the ball over the line for his third goal in as many games (49′).
There was almost an immediate response from the hosts, with Youssouf Sabaly slicing a volley just wide, but that did not signal the start of an onslaught from Gustavo Poyet’s side. They were desperately flat, in keeping with recent performances, with Malcom again struggling to recapture his form of earlier in the campaign.
Rennes eventually made the points safe with four minutes left as Gourcuff, just on as a substitute, slotted home after being set up by Khazri, the goal his first of the campaign.
That is now six games unbeaten for Sabri Lamouchi’s side, keeping them right in the mix for a fifth-place finish, which would mean a spot in next season’s UEFA Europa League. A return to Europe had looked a possibility for Bordeaux when they won their first four games following the sacking of Jocelyn Gourvennec, but that is now five without a victory since then, and just one goal scored in that time.
THE PLAYER: Yoann Gourcuff
On the day when it was reported in the French press that Gourcuff would be leaving Rennes at the end of the season when his contract expires, the former France playmaker appeared as an 84th-minute substitute against his old club and scored the goal that clinched the points for the visitors. It was his first goal since netting in this same fixture a year ago.
He raised his hands apologetically after scoring, out of respect to the club for whom he starred earlier in his career. Fellow members of Bordeaux’s 2008-09 title-winning side, including Marouane Chamakh and Alou Diarra, as well as coach Laurent Blanc, were in attendance here to see Gourcuff’s goal.
THE STAT: 6
Rennes’ run of six Ligue 1 Conforama games without defeat is their longest in more than two years, since the middle of the 2015-16 campaign.