It looked bleak.
After Rennes keeper Benoit Costil was sent off for a phantom foul on Jeremy Menez the worst was assumed. Yes, PSG were without talisman and part-time magician Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but defeating a talent laden team like the Parisians with only ten men was going to be a tough ask.
Try beating them with nine.
That’s what Les Rouges et Noirs accomplished at the Parc des Princes, overcoming a second red — this time to midfielder Jean Makoun — on their way to a historic win. This isn’t a story of David vs. Goliath – Rennes sits fourth in ligue 1. However, the match stats paint a vivid picture. 21% possession, four shots on goal to 10 and just three corners to 18 for the home side. Results like these don’t happen.
As Footy Blog editor Richard Whittall has written before, games like these are statistical aberrations. We’ve seen quite a few in recent weeks – West Brom’s victory over Chelsea today and Celtic’s shocker against Barcelona are two results that immediately come to mind.
That’s OK. Though games like these are few and far between, they are why we watch this sport. A sport where anything can happen, but usually doesn’t. Because when they do. Man, they’re the best. Romain Alessandrini and Julien Féret took their opportunities. Javier Pastore and Alex did not. 23-year-old defender Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik was terrific for the visitors and back up keeper Cheikh N’Diaye put in a memorable performance in emergency duty.
PSG remain top of the table but their lead over Rennes is just one point. When the season comes to a close this game will be remembered with lament or relief depending on your allegiances. Gotta love it.