Beaten by Chelsea, Stade Rennes continues their hard training

Timo Werner's second penalty goal for Chelsea, at home against Rennes, Wednesday, November 4.

It was here, one evening in 2009, that Didier Drogba spoke about “Fucking disgrace” (“Put… of shame”). Recrimination facing the camera to protest against the refereeing of a semi-final of the Champions League, lost by the Chelsea striker, against Barcelona.

Wednesday, November 4, in the first round of the competition, the Rennes people measured their words much more. Defeat (3-0) at Chelsea. The second in three games for the club’s debut in the Champions League, after an unfortunate draw (1-1) against other novices, those of Krasnodar, and a missed trip (0-1) to Seville.

Man of the match? “It’s the referee”, the president of Stade Rennes, Nicolas Holveck, loses his temper against the German Felix Zwayer. At the microphone of Téléfoot, the manager said all his “Frustration”. A feeling of injustice, too. That of having seen his club treated by Mr. Zwayer “Like Petit Poucet, the new kid, and that is difficult to accept”.

One hand and regrets

Unlike the Marseillais (already three defeats this season), the Rennes have yet played football, them. Even against Chelsea, yes. At least, in the first period, when they were still playing eleven against eleven. Until this 40e minute of play, therefore: ball countered by the tibia, then by the hand of Dalbert – involuntarily, according to his teammates. The referee first allows play to continue. Before listening to the advice of his assistants: recourse to video arbitration; then second yellow card against the Brazilian defender of Stade Rennes, excluded from the field; and second goal from a penalty kick from Timo Werner, in force (2-0).

This opens the debate on the interpretation of Law 12 of the International Board regulations. The evening referee will have a good time explaining that he whistled because of an arm from Dalbert, raised above his shoulders. The Rennais will answer that the second yellow card against the aforementioned is of an inappropriate severity: the regulation considers that“There is generally no fault if the ball touches the arm or the hand of a player directly from his head, his trunk or his leg”.

Earlier in the match, Werner had already opened the scoring from the penalty spot (1-0, 10e minute). Already on a fault of Dalbert, too naive in the affair, vis-a-vis the attacker opportunely come in contact with him. Alfred Gomis had hit the strike low this time. Not enough.

Earlier still, Rennes also initially believed in a penalty. At the 7e minute of play, the ball had already struck the hand of a defender in the middle of the penalty area. But a hand apparently stuck to the body, so a non-reprehensible gesture, that of Frenchman Kurt Zouma, central defender of Chelsea. Without, this time, that Mr. Zwayer feels the need to consult the video arbitration.

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In the first period, Julien Stéphan’s 4-3-3 long seemed able to compete with Chelsea. The coach claims his “Pride”. Rennes may have lost, but not without having worked “In an uninhibited way, with very clear intentions in the game”.

Around Steven N’Zonzi in midfield, Rennes tried to keep the ball. To impose a high pressing, in the opposing party. To center in front of the cages of Edouard Mendy, their former teammate, now goalkeeper of the Blues (still no goal conceded after six matches in the English Championship and the Champions League).

PSG on the horizon

The second half, ten to eleven, resulted in another game. And a third logical goal from the English, shortly after the restart: center in first intention of the side Reece James for a flat foot from Tammy Abraham, just as instant (3-0, 50e).

Facing Chelsea, the Bretons had crossed the Channel with a still very young workforce: of the 23 players in the workforce, eight of them were under 20 years old. Among them, Yann Gboho, finally established as a right attacking midfielder. Enterprising player, already full of energy.

Still no Eduardo Camavinga, however. The midfielder, a French neo-international, is still recovering from an injury. He should also miss the next league game, against Paris-Saint-Germain on Saturday, November 7. As “A second Champions League match” in the week, according to his trainer. For the real return of the European Cup, we will have to wait a little longer: it will be against Chelsea again, on November 24, this time at home. And still without an audience, because of the Covid-19.

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