Reduced to ten in the first period, Rennes managed to force its destiny and beat Panathinaikos (3-1) on Thursday during the 4th day of the Europa League, consolidating its first place in Group F.
Always as inconsistent and unpredictable, the Bretons performed excellently by bringing their total to 9 points in four days.
They are 3 points ahead of Villarreal, who overthrew Maccabi Haifa at the end of the match (2-1) and five over “Pana”. Villarreal has one game less - the reception of Haifa -, but the "yellow submarine" must still come to Roazhon Park.
Deprived of his goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, injured in one knee, Bruno Genesio had nevertheless chosen to do without several other executives at kick-off, suggesting that he was giving priority to the league match against Lyon next Sunday.
With Adrien Truffert, Lorenz Assignon, Wared Omari, Ludovic Blas and Amine Gouiri replacing, the defense was unprecedented with Arthur Theate shifted to the left to leave the axis to Christopher Wooh and Januël Belocian in the axis.
Impeccable during Rennes' first-leg victory (2-1), the 18-year-old defender this time almost cost his team dearly by conceding a penalty after half an hour of play and being sent off for illegally preventing an opponent to score, four meters from the goal.
Fotis Ioannidis, already a scorer in this exercise against OM in the 3rd preliminary round of the Champions League and in the first leg, tied the two teams with a panenka (1-1, 34th).
An equalizer all the more frustrating as the Greeks had absolutely not been dangerous until then and their goalkeeper, Alberto Brignoli, had spectacularly missed in the 9th minute on a fairly innocuous free kick from Fabian Rieder from almost 30 meters , to open the scoring for the Reds and Blacks (1-0, 9th).
But Genesio, who spoke in a pre-match press conference about how contrary facts of play sometimes got the best out of his players, will perhaps ultimately thank Belocian.
At ten, Rennes, while logically holding back, seemed much more determined and united than at eleven.
The Rennes coach can also legitimately congratulate himself on his coaching, his players having regained control of the match thanks to a triple change in the 63rd minute.
Two minutes after their entry into play, Ibrahim Salah, who had followed well to victoriously recover a deflected shot from Ludovic Blas, had awakened Roazhon Park (2-1, 65th).
Five minutes later, it was the soldier Nemanja Matic who obtained with all his skill a penalty transformed into force by Blas (3-1, 70th).
After this new convincing European performance, the urgency for Rennes is more than ever to improve this in Ligue 1, where the club is languishing in an 11th place unworthy of its potential.