Benjamin Bourigeaud and Gaetan Laborde scored as fourth-place Rennes beat Angers 2-0 to earn a third straight victory and move within a point of third-place Marseille in the French league 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 by netting from close range after controlling a cross from Jeremy Doku. This was Laborde’s 14th league goal this season, trailing top scorer Wissam Ben Yedder by one. Angers had a sixth straight defeat to remain in 14th place.
Strasbourg lost ground in the race for European spots by conceding a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Reims. Jean-Ricner Bellegarde put Strasbourg ahead with a half-volley from the edge of the box in the 69th. But Reims substitute Jens Cajuste leveled in the 84th by diverting in a free kick with his knee. Strasbourg stayed in fifth place, two points behind Rennes.
Nantes sank Montpellier 2-0 to move into sixth place. Randal Kolo Muani notched his 10th league goal this season by heading home a volleyed pass from Ludovic Blas in the 69th. Nantes substitute Willem Geubbels put the result beyond doubt with a tap-in during stoppage time.
Denis Bouanga helped Saint-Etienne move out of the relegation zone by scoring with an acrobatic volley in the 52nd in a 1-0 win over Metz. Saint-Etienne climbed to 17th place, one point above the relegation zone.
“Our state of mind is irreproachable,” Bouanga told Amazon Prime video. “Now we know how to win games. We also know how to protect a lead. Unfortunately, there are still a few details to fix. We are a real team. We will continue that way.”
Saint-Etienne’s form has improved under new manager Pascal Dupraz, racking up 13 points from the last six games. Dupraz replaced Claude Puel as Saint-Etienne coach in December in a bid to avoid relegation. Saint-Etienne was in last place before Dupraz’s appointment.
Saint-Etienne, Troyes and Metz were level on points with bottom side Bordeaux before kickoff.
Troyes downed Bordeaux 2-0 to snap a five-game winless streak and move into 16th place. Bordeaux lived up to its reputation as the worst defense in the league by conceding two penalties. Gaetan Poussin seemed to have saved Troyes winger Mama Balde’s penalty in the 28th but the goal line technology confirmed that the Bordeaux goalkeeper pushed the ball over the line with his body. South African forward Lebo Mothiba made it 2-0 by drilling his spot kick into the bottom corner in the 87th. Bordeaux players were booed off the pitch after the final whistle.
The 27th round ends later Sunday with Lille vs. Clermont, and Marseille vs. Monaco.
On Saturday, Nice stunned runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 to move into second place while Brest edged Lens 1-0 to earn its first away win since December and inch closer to safety.
On Friday, Lyon won at Lorient 4-1.
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