The learning continues: for the second Champions League match in its history, Rennes, without its executives Steven Nzonzi (suspended) and Eduardo Camavinga (decreased), resisted for a long time before yielding 1-0 Wednesday in Seville as part of the second day of C1. Symptomatic: it is on a long pass from Fernando for Marcos Acuña, and a cross from the Argentinian for Luuk de Jong (55th), that Rennes ended up breaking under the repeated assaults of the reigning winners of the Europa League. But Rennes can have regrets. Because for a long time, Julien Stéphan’s men bent without breaking. The reds and blacks suffered enormously from the long repeating cross-sections intended for Jesus Navas and Munir El Haddadi, very agitated Wednesday night, over the Breton defense.
Cross, center, shooting: the typical action of the game plan proposed by the Basque technician Julen Lopetegui … and an effective plan, given the outrageous domination of his men, with 11 corners to nothing, and 22 strikes for two . “For our first experience in this competition, we knew that we would be an outsider almost everywhere“, the Rennes technician Julien Stéphan explained in advance at a press conference.
Too bad for Rennes, long remained impervious to the Andalusian assaults, but who never managed to take advantage of this tightness and the opposing clumsiness to gain the advantage. All Breton opportunities were stupidly wasted, like this failed center (12th) or this strike countered by Martin Terrier (33rd). Serhou Guirassy well padlocked by former Ligue 1 defenders Diego Carlos and Jules Koundé (just recovered from his week of confinement after a positive test for the coronavirus), only Jérémy Doku, on his right wing, tried to carry the danger in the Sevillian camp.
This is where the absence of French internationals Steven Nzonzi and Eduardo Camavinga was felt in the Rennes midfield: without their two benchmarks, Julien Stéphan’s men lacked control, playing the game, and are not failed to organize to relaunch properly. “It’s very regrettable and very penalizing for us, we will have to adapt“, Stéphan whispered on Tuesday.”Their absence is detrimental for the whole team“, added Serhou Guirassy in the wake.
And that did not work out for the red and black: in the 14th, the Italian international central defender Daniele Rugani must give up his place, visibly affected in the left leg, and is replaced by Nayef Aguerd. Then upon returning from the locker room, Benjamin Bourigeaud left the field prematurely, replaced by James Léa-Siliki.
Chelsea in sight
Learning is tough, but Rennes is still in its infancy in the biggest European league … which leads to approximations, like captain Damien Da Silva, who forgot to exchange his pennant with his Sevilla FC counterpart Jesus Navas before kick-off. After a draw during the club’s first experience in the Champions League against Krasnodar (1-1) last week, Rennes will still have to wait to bring back a historic first victory in C1.
And his worries are likely to get worse at Stamford Bridge against the illustrious Chelsea, the next meeting of Rennes in the Champions League on Wednesday. Sevillian side, Lopetegui can breathe, after the defeat against the modest Eibar (1-0) last weekend in La Liga. But the criticisms addressed to his training for several weeks have not been repaired. After winning four of the last six Europa Leagues, Sevilla will have to regain the offensive efficiency that was their strength last season, if they are to pass the course in the “big” European Cup.