Stade Rennais

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Awful Niang tackle given yellow even after review

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Paris Saint-Germain may have downed Stade Rennais 4-1, but it was not without controversy even despite the lopsided scoreline.

In the 34th minute, with the match tied 1-1, M’baye Niang – who had already bagged Stade Rennais’s lone goal of the match – went in studs up on 22-year-old German international Thilo Kehrer.

It was an incredibly bad tackle, as replays showed Niang’s studs caught Kehrer square on the shin after he had already released the ball to a teammate. It looks a textbook red card, but referee Karim Abed initially awarded a yellow card. VAR flagged the incident as needing review, and Abed went to the sidelines to look at the monitor.

Somehow, he refused to change his initial decision. See for yourself:

As the game progressed and halftime arrived, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel was still understandably seething about the decision. As the halftime whistle blew, cameras caught the German boss yelled angrily at the referees – in English – to “go home and get that s*** away,” referring to the VAR equipment.

But Tuchel wasn’t done. He marched down the tunnel with purpose and continued to berate the referees…but switched languages. He transitioned flawlessly into angry French, asking the referees “Why do we even have VAR? Why do we even have it? Why? If there is a foul, it’s not a foul! If there is a red card, it’s not a red card!”

Niang apologized for the tackle after the match on social media. “A tackle poorly controlled! I had no intention to hurt you, I’m happy I did not hurt you! @KehrerThilo good luck the rest of the season and I’m so sorry!”

Thankfully for Tuchel, Kehrer was able to continue and PSG eventually won on a brilliant performance from Kylian Mbappe who picked up a goal and an assist in the second half, with Edinson Cavani scoring twice and Angel Di Maria bagging two assists.

Monaco keeper scores penalty winner in Coupe de la Ligue quarters

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It took 22 penalties to finally find a winner, but find a winner they did as Monaco advanced past fellow Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais in Coupe de la Ligue action.

The two sides had drawn 1-1 on goals from Monaco’s Rony Lopes and Rennais’ Benjamin Bourigeaud, with the visitors at Stade Louis striking first on the half-hour mark and Thierry Henry’s squad equalizing nine minutes after the break.

In the penalty shootout, each side missed twice in the original five-man pod, with Belgian youngster Youri Tielemans and Swiss international Kamil Glick missing for Monaco, while former Newcastle attacker Hatem Ben Arfa and Algerian international Mehdi Zeffane failing to score for Stade Rennais.

Everyone in spots 7-10 made their penalties, before Stade Rennais goalkeeper Tomas Koubek. That left 20-year-old Monaco goalkeeper Loic Badiashile to bag the winner, which he did.

Monaco did not win a single match under Thierry Henry until November 24, but they have won two in league play since then along with Wednesday’s Coupe de la Ligue victory, moving them into the semifinals of the competition. They still remain five points from safety in the Ligue 1 table, currently 19th with 13 points on the campaign.

Kedziora scores absolute screamer for Dynamo Kiev

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With the score 0-0 in the 21st minute, Dynamo Kiev midfielder Denys Garmash was searching for his third Europa League goal in three matches this season. With the ball loose 25 yards from goal, Garmash charged in and lashed at it hoping to fire a blistering strike at Stade Rennais goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo.

He completely whiffed. Badly. And it’s a good thing he did.

The ball trickled into even more space further from goal near the right edge of the box, and Garmash’s teammate Tomasz Kedziora took his own swipe at it. He actually made contact. Really, really good contact.

One of the best goals of the day followed as Kedziora unleashed an absolute missile into the top-left corner, sending Dynamo Kiev into the lead in shocking fashion.

The 24-year-old Polish international bagged the first Europa League goal since 2014 as the ball was sent rocketing into the far corner with incredible pace. Kedziora has plenty of European experience for his age, coming over from Polish club Lech Poznan – where he spent his youth days – in the summer of 2017 and has 25 Europa League appearances to go along with seven Champions League appearances.

Stade Rennais would draw level at 1-1 as the home side equalized through Clement Grenier just before halftime, but Kiev pulled out an amazing win despite falling a man down as Vitaliy Buyalskiy would win it in the 89th minute, just five minutes after Vodolmyr Shepelev was sent off for receiving a second yellow card. The three points moves Dynamo into an advancing position halfway through the group stage action.

VAR in the spotlight again, this time for not working

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PARIS (AP) – The video assistant referee system has been much talked about since being used at the World Cup earlier this year – praised by some for spotting fouls, criticized by others for slowing down matches.

On Sunday, VAR attracted attention for another reason altogether: it stopped working during the 1-1 draw between Rennes and Toulouse.

“The fourth official came to see me 10 minutes from the end of halftime to tell me it wasn’t working,” Toulouse coach Alain Casanova said. “There was a problem, quite simply.”

Casanova said he and his Rennes counterpart, Sabri Lamouchi, as well as the two team captains, were all informed before the second half started.

Toulouse may have cause for regret because VAR was not used to review images when a penalty was given to Rennes midway through the second period. It was awarded after striker M’Baye Niang fell under a challenge from Jean-Clair Todibo, who was shown a yellow card for protesting the decision.

Niang converted in the 70 minute, but Todibo headed in the equalizer two minutes from time for Toulouse.

Toulouse played with 10 men for the second half after forward Aaron Leya Iseka was sent off in the 43rd for a second yellow card.

The draw leaves Rennes struggling in 16th place – two places above the relegation zone – while Toulouse is seventh.


Montpellier continued its fine start by beating local rival Nimes 3-0 to move into second place – although Marseille can take second by winning at Lille later Sunday.

Defender Ambroise Oyongo put Montpellier ahead and striker Andy Delort made it 2-0 after nine minutes of first-half injury time. A metal gate gave way after Montpellier fans celebrated Oyongo’s goal, sending a few of them spilling onto the pitch and causing the match to be delayed.

Reports said two fans sustained light injuries.

The outstanding Florent Mollet set up striker Gaetan Laborde for a diving header in the 79th, after which a crowd disturbance caused the match to be stopped for about 30 minutes.

Some 70-80 riot police came onto the pitch to block a section of agitated Montpellier fans from confronting their Nimes counterparts.

Reports: Everton to secure Rennais defender Bensebaini

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According to L’Equipe, Everton is nearing the completion of a transfer for Stade Rennais defender Ramy Bensebaini. The  L’Equipe report states the two clubs are in “very advanced negotiations.”

Bensebaini is primarily a central defender but can also play left-back, where he played primarily for his club last season. The 23-year-old Algerian international made 29 Ligue 1 appearances for Rennais in the 2017/18 campaign, completing the full 90 minutes in all but six of them.

The report from the French news outlet states, as many other English reports have corroborated, that Bensebaini’s transfer will cost Everton in the vicinity of $17.5 million. Bensebaini is under contract with Rennais until 2020, meaning this summer is the time Rennais will get peak value for the Algerian before he reaches the final year of his contract.

Rennais finished a surprising fifth in the Ligue 1 table, helped by Bensebaini as the club allowed just 44 goals over the 38-match season, good for the sixth-best defensive record in the French top flight. He played the full 90 minutes as Rennais gave runaway champions Paris Saint-Germain just their third loss of the season on May 12th in the season’s penultimate match.

Bensebaini has made 12 appearances for the Algerian international team, scoring one goal which came back on June first in a friendly against Cape Verde.