Competition debut for Rennes ends in 1-1 with Krasnodar

RENNES, FRANCE (AP) – Rennes marked its Champions League group stage debut with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Russian side Krasnodar on Tuesday, conceding an equaliser just moments after scoring.

While Paris Saint-Germain had no fans allowed for its 2-1 home loss against Manchester United because of coronavirus concerns, local authorities in Brittany gave permission for 5,000 to attend at Roazhon Park. Some lit flares by the roadside as the Rennes team bus approached the stadium.

The long-awaited first Rennes goal in Europe’s elite competition arrived in the 56th minute when striker Serhou Guirassy netted from the penalty spot after centre half Yegor Sorokin fouled winger Martin Terrier. But the depleted Russian side equalised three minutes later when left back Cristian Ramirez’s long-distance strike beat goalie Alfred Gomis at the near post.

“You pay for your mistakes. We scored, but then lost concentration and paid for it,” Guirassy said. “We weren’t mature enough.”

But Guirassy should have won it yet fluffed his close-range shot in the sixth minute of injury time.

Krasnodar’s goalkeeper Matvei Safonov deflects the ball over Rennes’ Adrien Hunou and Krasnodar’s Egor Sorokin during the Champions League, Group E football match between Rennes and Krasnodar at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes, France. PHOTO: AP

Krasnodar players Evgeny Markov and Remy Cabella did not travel because of doubtful results of COVID-19 tests, and the visitors named just seven players on the bench.

Krasnodar’s 21-year-old goalkeeper Matvei Safonov was the outstanding performer on the night.Rising star Eduardo Camavinga, the 17-year-old France midfielder, forced Safonov into two good saves from outside the penalty area as Rennes dominated the first half.

But veteran Sweden striker Marcus Berg went close in the 32nd minute on a rare attack for the visitors.

After Safonov denied Adrien Hunou and Flavien Tait with fine second-half stops, Guirassy missed his close-range shot with seconds remaining.

“It’s time to move to the next step,” Safonov said. “Bring on Chelsea.”

Chelsea drew 0-0 at home to Sevilla in Group E’s other game.

Krasnodar hosts the Premier League side next Wednesday while Rennes travels to Spain.