PARIS (AFP) – French Ligue 1 leaders Marseille were eliminated from the League Cup at the first hurdle on Wednesday, conceding in the last minute to lose 2-1 at Rennes.
Marseille are four points clear at the top of the league but saw their run of eight consecutive wins ended in a 1-0 reverse at Lyon last weekend and coach Marcelo Bielsa opted to rotate his squad for the trip to Brittany.
Bielsa made six changes to his starting line-up, with Michy Batshuayi getting his chance up front as Andre-Pierre Gignac was rested.
And the young Belgian striker gave the visitors the lead in the 19th minute at the Stade de la Route de Lorient to put Marseille seemingly on course for a berth in the last 16.
However, Anders Konradsen headed in the equaliser from inside the six-yard box on the hour and Austrian forward Philipp Hosiner then diverted the ball into the net in injury time to take Rennes through.
That winning goal came after Brice Dja Djedje and Paul-Georges Ntep were sent off following a clash as tempers flared, leaving both teams to end the game with 10 men.
Earlier on Wednesday, Metz eliminated Nice on penalties after squandering a 3-0 lead to draw the match on the Cote d’Azur 3-3.
Along with the winners of Tuesday’s ties, Rennes and Metz progress to the last 16 in December, when France’s six European representatives – including holders Paris Saint-Germain – will enter the draw.