Gourcuff helps Lyon beat Rennes

Lyon opened their Ligue 1 campaign with a win after battling past a Rennes side who played more than half of the game with 10 men.

Yoann Gourcuff grabbed the winner for the visitors after 15 minutes and Rennes put themselves at a distinct disadvantage when Jires Kembo-Ekoko was sent off in the 30th minute.

Lyon, who finished fourth last season, made a positive start to the game, with Bafetimbi Gomis almost opening the scoring in the seventh minute.

His shot from 25 yards forced a fine save from Benoit Costil in the home goal but the Rennes stopper could do nothing about Gourcuff’s effort just eight minutes later.

After good work from Jimmy Briand on the right, he found Gourcuff in the box who was able to finish from close range with a left-foot strike.

Rennes responded through Kembo-Ekoko who fired in a shot from the edge of the box but Remy Vercoutre was able to turn the ball away for a corner.

Kembo-Ekoko and Vercoutre were then at the centre of the game’s key moment when the Lyon goalkeeper was challenged by the DR Congo striker, and the referee produced a red card.

In the second half Lyon made use of their one-man advantage to regularly threaten the Rennes goal. In the 57th minute, Gourcuff combined with Alexandre Lacazette before sending in a left-foot shot that was just blocked.

Three minutes later, Anthony Reveillere got in an excellent cross from the right to the far post where Lacazette’s volley was met by Gomis with a header that went just over the bar.

Gourcuff tried his luck again in the 70th minute with a 30-yard strike that went narrowly wide but in the end Lyon had to settle for a 1-0 win.