Rennes defeated Nice 2-0© AFP
Rennes eased to a 2-0 victory over Nice on Saturday, condemning their opponents to a third defeat in five Ligue 1 games and handing Paris Saint-Germain the chance to go eight points clear at the top of the table. Second-placed Nice could have cut the gap to PSG to two points with a win, but instead the reigning champions can stretch further ahead when they visit last season’s runners-up Lens on Sunday. Benjamin Bourigeaud put Rennes ahead just over half an hour in from the penalty spot, before Arnaud Kalimuendo made it four goals in his last three games after netting a double in last weekend’s French Cup win at Guingamp.
Rennes have now posted three successive wins in all competitions and are starting to find their feet after a difficult start to the campaign, which saw former boss Julien Stephan return to the helm in November following the departure of Bruno Genesio.
Despite their lofty league position, Nice are still struggling to create chances and have scored only 19 goals in 18 Ligue 1 matches, the joint-fewest of teams in the top half of the table.
Earlier, Reims grabbed a 3-1 win at third-placed Monaco to climb into fifth.
Adi Huetter’s Monaco would have leapfrogged Nice and jumped to within four points of PSG with victory.
Maltese international Teddy Teuma gave the visitors a 35th-minute lead, although Wissam Ben Yedder levelled for Monaco shortly after half-time with his 10th goal of the season.
But German Reda Khadra restored Reims’ advantage before the hour mark and Azor Matusiwa secured a second straight league win for Will Still’s men either side of the winter break in added time.
“Our goal was to silence those who said that we had only a 20 percent chance of victory in this match, to win an away match and to beat a top six team,” said Reims coach Still.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the players than after this match.”
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