AS Saint-Etienne missed the chance to leapfrog Olympique de Marseille into third spot in the French League on Friday, settling for a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Stade Rennais in what was a dress rehearsal for next month’s League Cup final.
Les Verts made it 13 games unbeaten in all competitions this year and the former giants of the French game look a good bet for a European berth of some kind.
However, Christophe Galtier’s team had to make do with a single point after twice coming from behind against a Rennes side with top six ambitions of their own.
Romain Danze headed Rennes in front on the stroke of halftime after the hosts had had an earlier effort ruled out for a foul by John Boye on goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier, who dropped the ball over his own line.
There was still time for the visitors to level before the interval as Yohan Mollo fired in after teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had missed his kick.
Six minutes after the restart, Julien Feret put Rennes back in front only for Mollo to set up a neat finish for Aubameyang in the 66th minute, the French-born Gabonese striker netting for the seventh consecutive league match.
Saint-Etienne, now winless in seven visits to Rennes, have 48 points from 28 games, one behind Marseille, who take on second-placed Lyon at the Stade de Gerland today.
Olympique Lyonnais are two points adrift of league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who were expected to beat struggling AS Nancy-Lorraine at home yesterday with David Beckham possibly in their starting line-up after he was rested for their Champions League tussle with Valencia in midweek, which earned the capital club a quarter-final berth.
Marseille are three points adrift of Lyon as they chase a top three finish, bringing with it Champions League soccer next season.
Rennes lie in provisional eighth place, six points behind Saint-Etienne.
Additional reporting by Staff writer
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first