A brace from Turkish international striker Mevlut Erding inspired Stade Rennais to a 3-2 win over fellow Ligue 1 strugglers AS Nancy-Lorraine on Tuesday and a place in the last 16 of the French League Cup.
The 25-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain star scored a goal in each half to ease the pressure on Rennes combative coach Frederic Antonetti, whose side have won just one of their six Ligue 1 games this season.
Antonetti, who has had a colorful coaching career which has also taken him to Japan and a brief tenure with Gamba Osaka, said his decision to blood some young players and recall others, such as France international Yann M’Vila, had paid off.
“This is a win which is a good thing for us in such a period as we are going through,” said the 51-year-old, best known for two spells with SC Bastia in the 1990s. “We have to be more alert, and for longer spells, in a match, but overall the victory is deserved, even if we looked jittery toward the end because we still had the Toulouse match [they conceded a stoppage-time equalizer on Saturday with the Toulouse goalkeeper scoring] still in our heads. I feel we are still not sure of ourselves. At times we are capable of putting together good moves, but we are still not confident enough in our play before setting up such moves.”
Earlier, another brace from 33-year-old veteran striker Toifilou Maoulida saw Bastia end a run of four successive defeats, in what has been a difficult return to the top tier after a seven year gap, as they beat Metz 3-0 at home in Corsica.
Bastia coach Frederic Hantz was a relieved man at ending the losing run, albeit against a third-division club.
“That does the head some good and even if that doesn’t bring us any points, it is good to win,” Hantz said. “It was very important to get a win. We are reassured, we have scored three goals, and above all for the first time this season we haven’t conceded a goal.”
The French clubs involved in European competition — Montpellier Herault, PSG, LOSC Lille Metropole, Olympique Lyonnais, Girondins de Bordeaux and Olympique de Marseille, who are also the holders — enter the competition in the round-of-16.
Tuesday’s other result:
‧ AJ Auxerre 2, Angers SCO 0