Rennes maintain European push
French side bounce back from cup humiliation
Last Updated: 16/04/12 11:23pm
Tongo Doumbia: Doubled Rennes' advantage on their way to three precious points
Rennes maintained their push for European football next season with a solid 3-1 victory at home to relegation battlers Nice on Monday night.
Goals by Julien Feret and Tongo Doumbia had the hosts in control at the break and, although Francois Clerc reduced the deficit, Rennes made sure of the points thanks to Jonathan Pitroipa's 82nd-minute strike.
The win means Rennes are now fifth, just two points behind fourth place and a Europa League berth, while Nice stay a point above the drop zone.
The home side had a point to prove after last week's humiliating defeat against third-tier Quevilly which cost them a place in the Coupe de France final later this month.
With the home crowd whistling their every touch, Rennes looked fired up and Youssouf Hadji's volley after 12 minutes forced Nice goalkeeper David Ospina to save.
Ospina again was in action on 18 minutes, Feret with a stunning shot that brought a reflex stop from the custodian.
The breakthrough came after 22 minutes, this time Feret receiving the ball from Yacine Brahimi and firing a low shot beyond Ospina.
The second goal arrived a minute before the break, Feret again involved as his header picked out Doumbia who confidently headed home.
Ospina was again in action on 52 minutes, producing a fine stop to deny Brahimi, but seven minutes later - and against the run of play - Nice were back in it.
Eric Mouloungui, just back after five weeks out with an ankle problem, flicked the ball on and Clerc ran on to the ball before finishing low and hard.
The game was finally put to bed in the final 10 minutes, however, Romain Danze's long ball collected by Pitroipa, who beat Didier Digard before slotting past Ospina.
French Ligue 1
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|16||Evian Thonon Gaillar||22||23|