Rennes defeats Lorient, 2-0

Rennes climbed to fifth in the Ligue 1 standings thanks to an efficient 2-0 home victory against Lorient in the Brittany derby.

Jires Kembo-Ekoko opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a brilliant free-kick at the Route de Lorient and Jonathan Pitroipa made the points safe by adding the second from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute.

The triumph moved Les Rouges et Noirs above their opponents and also above Toulouse on goal difference after 10 games.

Lorient headed into the encounter having conceded only seven goals in their first nine league matches, but found themselves behind with less than 10 minutes on the clock as Kembo-Ekoko despatched a sublime free-kick into the top corner of Fabien Audard’s goal.

A timely intervention from Audard was needed three minutes later to prevent Victor Hugo Montano getting on the end of a Kembo-Ekoko pass as Rennes pressed for a second goal.

Kembo-Ekoko continued to be dangerous from set-pieces and fired in another free-kick in the 17th minute which Audard did well to deflect away for a corner.

Pitroipa burst into the area 10 minutes before the break but his touch let him down at the last moment and Audard dived at his feet to snuff out the threat of a second Rennes goal.

A left-footed shot from Gilles Sunu – well saved by Benoit Costil – proved Lorient’s best chance of the first half, but they went in at the interval a goal down.

Any hopes the visitors harboured of getting back into the game were all but ended just after the hour when the referee pointed to the spot after Kembo-Ekoko had been brought down by Arnaud Le Lan. Pitroipa stepped up and steered the ball beyond Audard.

Stung by going two goals down, Lorient mustered a couple of fine chances to get back into the game but were unable to convert them.

Substitute Mathias Autret headed Joel Campbell’s cross just over the bar and Jeremie Aliadiere lashed wide after being put through one on one with Costil by Autret.

Rennes could have added to their lead in the closing stages, another Kembo-Ekoko free-kick skimming the bar on its way over and defender Maxime Baca clearing a Vincent Pajot header off the line.

The third goal did not arrive but they had already done enough.