Rennes beat Angers 2-0 to keep pace with European race

PARIS (AP) — Benjamin Bourigeaud and Gaetan Laborde scored as fourth-placed Rennes beat Angers 2-0 to claim a third straight win and move within a point of French league third-placed Marseille on Sunday.

Bourigeaud opened the scoring with a bouncing volley into the far corner in the 33rd minute. Laborde doubled the lead in the 87th minute by scoring from close range after controlling a cross from Jeremy Doku. It was Laborde’s 14th league goal this season, trailing top scorer Wissam Ben Yedder by one point. Angers suffered a sixth defeat in a row to stay in 14th place.

Strasbourg lost ground in the race for European places by conceding a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Reims. Jean-Ricner Bellegarde gave Strasbourg the advantage with a half-volley from the edge of the area in the 69th. But the Reims substitute Jens Cadjus equalized in the 84th minute by diverting a free kick from the knee. Strasbourg remained in fifth place, two points behind Rennes.

Nantes sank Montpellier 2-0 to move into sixth place. Randal Kolo Muani scored his 10th league goal this season as he headed home a volley pass from Ludovic Blas in the 69th. Nantes substitute Willem Geubbels put the result beyond doubt with a tap-in during stoppage time.

Reigning champions Lille continued their late push for a European spot by beating 10-man Clermont 4-0 to stay level on points with Nantes.

Lille took the lead with a descending header from Jonathan Bamba in the third minute. Clermont collapsed after Salis Abdul Samed picked up a second yellow card in the 68th minute. Canadian striker Jonathan David ended an eight-game goalless drought in all competitions by firing home an angled strike in the 71st for his 13th league goal of the season. Lille right-back Zeki Celik in the 84th and substitute Edon Zhegrova in the 90th completed the scoring.

Denis Bouanga helped Saint-Etienne climb out of the relegation zone by scoring with an acrobatic volley in the 52nd minute in a 1-0 victory against Metz. Saint-Etienne move up to 17th place, one point above the relegation zone.

“Our mindset is beyond reproach,” Bouanga told the Amazon Prime video. “Now we know how to win games. We also know how to protect a leash. Unfortunately, there are still a few details to be ironed out. We are a real team. We will continue like this. »

Saint-Etienne’s form has improved under new manager Pascal Dupraz, collecting 13 points in the last six games. Dupraz replaced Claude Puel as Saint-Etienne coach in December in a bid to avoid relegation. Saint-Etienne occupied the last place before the appointment of Dupraz.

Saint-Etienne, Troyes and Metz were level on points with Bordeaux before kick-off.

Troyes beat Bordeaux 2-0 to end a five-game winless streak and move into 16th place. Bordeaux lived up to their reputation as the worst defense in the league by conceding two penalties. Gaétan Poussin appeared to have saved Trojan winger Mama Balde’s penalty in the 28th minute but goal-line tech confirmed the Bordeaux keeper pushed the ball over the line with his body. South African striker Lebo Mothiba made it 2-0 by drilling his kick into the bottom corner in the 87th minute. The Bordeaux players were booed off the pitch after the final whistle.

The 27th round ends later on Sunday with Marseille against Monaco.

On Saturday, Nice stunned runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 to take second place while Brest edged Lens 1-0 to claim their first away win since December and move closer to safety.

On Friday, Lyon won at Lorient 4-1.

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Mary I. Bruner