Lens provisionally top of Ligue 1 after victory over Rennes

The Lensois are making an almost perfect start to the season. With ten points in four days, they temporarily take the lead in Ligue 1, thanks to their success against Rennes on Saturday (2-1). The Rennais concede their second defeat of the season.

The game: 2-1

The atmosphere was warm in a once again full Félix Bollaert-Delelis stadium. The first period was a little less. The Rennais did not see the ball in the first quarter of an hour (only 25% possession), but Lens did not take advantage of his control. It took until the 22nd minute to see the game’s first strike. At 20 meters, Seko Fofana crossed his shot too much.

The Bretons responded in stride on a strike from Désiré Doué (24th), without being much more dangerous. After a last attempt by Flavien Tait (45th + 1), Jérôme Brisard signaled the end of a period with few chances (5 shots in all).

The Lensois took much less time to put pressure on the Rennes goal after returning from the locker room. Florian Sotoca crossed his shot too much (46th) before forcing the defense into a double intervention, with the help of Loïs Openda (47th). After several failures, the Artésiens relied on their captain. Served on the left, Fofana played with Gifted before concluding magnificently on the opposite side (1-0, 66th). In the process, Openda took advantage of the passivity of Joe Rodon to deceive Dogan Alemdar (2-0, 71st).

Loïs Openda played Joe Rodon to get ahead of Dogan Alemdar and double the lead for Lens.  (P. Lahalle/The Team)

Loïs Openda played Joe Rodon to get ahead of Dogan Alemdar and double the lead for Lens. (P. Lahalle/The Team)

The late game then saw plenty of chances from Bruno Genesio’s men. Tait forgot Gaëtan Laborde alone at 5.50m (78th) and Kamaldeen Sulemana stumbled on the bar (79th). They ended up finding the fault in additional time thanks to Gaëtan Laborde, yet in a tight angle (2-1, 90th + 1). Too late.

The player: Fofana’s der?

As often last season, RC Lens captain Seko Fofana has unblocked a complex situation for his team. While the Sang et Or struggled to realize his chances, the Ivorian opened the scoring. All alone. Served on the left by Jonathan Gradit, he eliminated Doué by crossing his legs before rolling his shot beautifully into Alemdar’s goal. An essential man in Franck Haise’s system, Bollaert’s darling could leave the club by the end of the transfer window. After the meeting, he cast doubt on his future.


With 10 points in four days, Lens made their best start to the season in Ligue 1 since the 2001-2002 season (12). The Sang et Or had then finished 2nd in the Championship at the end of the season.


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