Easy winner of Maccabi Haifa (3-0), in Budapest, Thursday, Rennes is assured of continuing its European campaign in the Europa League at the end of next winter. With this fourth success in five days, the Bretons have 12 points and, whatever the result of the match between Villarreal and Panathinaikos at 9:00 p.m., they will finish in one of the first two places in Group F.
With the Spaniards having 6 points with two matches in hand, including the reception of Haifa on December 6, we will probably have to wait for Rennes-Villarreal on December 14 to know if the Reds and Blacks go directly to the round of 16 or if they will have to go through a play-off against one of the third places in the Champions League groups.
In any case, they did the job seriously, in the Puskas Arena behind closed doors. For his second match on the bench since his return, Julien Stéphan had reshuffled his starting lineup compared to the Ligue 1 match on Sunday against Reims (3-1).
He thus placed his trust in central defender Warmed Omari, suspended in the league and responsible for some costly blunders since the start of the season. Benjamin Bourigeaud and Arnaud Kalimuendo had been left on the bench in favor of Lorenz Assignon on the right and Bertrug Yildirim up front.
But faced with very weak Israelis, forced to play far from home and in a context that was undoubtedly very psychologically complicated, Rennes mastered the match. Already 3-0 winners in the first leg, Rennes quickly confiscated the ball and although it took more than 25 minutes to see a truly dangerous opportunity, the Bretons almost hit the mark on their first opportunity.
It was Martin Terrier, who had not scored for eleven months and his terrible knee injury, who found the fault after a magnificent one-two with Enzo Le Fée, scoring with a powerful strike in the area and first post (1-0, 29th). The break came just after returning from the locker room. A hazardous back pass from a Maccabi midfielder was intercepted by Amine Gouiri who fixed his defender well and doubled the lead with a cross strike (2-0, 47th).
The new Algerian international (4 caps) again found the opponent's goal with a strike at the edge of the area, ten minutes later, but it was necessary to wait for added time for the Swiss Fabian Rieder to increase the score further. (3-0, 90 3). Faced with the lack of opposing responders, Stéphan had already been able to rotate widely before that to prepare for a crucial meeting in the championship, Sunday, in Marseille (8:45 p.m.).