Wahbi Khazri (72′) and Benjamin André (84′) were on target as Stade Rennais FC beat Amiens SC 2-0 to stay within touching distance of the European places.
Stade Rennais FC 2-0 Amiens SC
Rennes welcomed Amiens to their Roazhon Park having won five of their previous six Ligue 1 Conforama games, and they were inches away from taking the lead when Benjamin Bourigeaud followed up on Khazri’s miscue only to see his effort come crashing back off the post (12′). Amiens’ best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Serge Gakpé, who beat Mehdi Zeffane in the air before letting fly from range, but his rasping effort sailed narrowly wide (24′). Moussa Konaté thought he had done enough to earn a penalty with the final act of the half, but having gone down under duress from Jérémy Gelin, referee Thomas Léonard waved away his claim (45+1′).
Khazri’s influence grew in the second half, and he came close to making it 1-0 when he found space around Amiens’ penalty spot to meet Bourigeaud’s square ball, but his shot was deflected over for a corner by Prince-Désir Gouano (52′). The Tunisia midfielder simply refused to be denied, though, and there was an air of inevitability when he steered the opener past Régis Gurtner after some smart work in the box 20 minutes later (72′). Amiens’ defence collapsed after that, and André put the game beyond doubt in the final minutes, heading home Bourigeaud’s free-kick at the front post (84′) to seal a 2-0 win.
THE PLAYER: Wahbi Khazri
Former Girondins de Bordeaux man Khazri has looked like a player reborn after returning to Ligue 1 Conforama on a loan deal from Sunderland. With four goals in just nine starts from the point of Rennes’ midfield, it would be no surprise to see Les Rouges et Noirs move to make the deal permanent in the coming months.
THE STAT: 6
Rennes have now won six of their last seven Ligue 1 Conforama matches, a period in which they have lifted themselves from 15th to sixth in the table. The Bretons have not played European football since the UEFA Europa League group stages in 2011-12. On current form, it wouldn’t be safe to back against them ending their continental drought come the end of the season.