Rennes stretch lead with draw as St Etienne lose

Rennes: Unbeaten Stade Rennes extended their Ligue 1 lead despite being held to a goalless draw at troubled Racing Lens.

The Brittany side, on 19 points from nine games, now lead second-placed St Etienne by two points after Les Verts slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Nice.

Paris St Germain are third, four points off the pace, following a 2-0 win at Toulouse on Saturday.

Rennes, who had the best chances in the first half at Stade Felix Bollaert, were lucky to avoid defeat when keeper Nicolas Douchez superbly parried away a Razak Boukari header from close range eight minutes from time.

They finished with 10 men after Tonga Hamed Doumbia was shown a straight red card for a violent tackle only four minutes after coming off the bench.

"It`s a good draw. We were better in the first half but we relaxed too much after the break", Rennes midfielder Yann Mvila told the French TV channel Foot Plus.

"We had to stop losing, three points would have been better but in our situation, one point is fine," Lens captain Eric Chelle said.

Lens still lie second from bottom in the standings.

St Etienne also played with 10 men for almost 70 minutes after striker Gonzalo Bergessio was sent off in the 22nd minute for a rough tackle.

France striker Dimitri Payet, the league`s top striker, netted his eighth from the penalty spot in the 11th minute. Nice, however, piled the pressure after the break with Anthony Mounier equalising two minutes into the second half with a volley into the far post.

Midfielder Chaouki Ben Saada made it two in the 67th minute with a powerful shot from just inside the box.

Later on Sunday, unbeaten Lille travel to improving Olympique Lyon (1900).

Bureau Report