Le Havre (France), Feb 11 (AP) Rennes won its fifth straight game by edging Le Havre 1-0 in the French league to pull within four points of the Champions League spots on Sunday.
Midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud scored the winning goal with a half-volley in the second half.
Fortunes have changed quickly for Rennes, which was just one point above the relegation playoff spot in November when the club dismissed Bruno Genesio to hire Julien Stephan.
The hosts worked hard to close down Rennes players, putting in physical challenges throughout.
Le Havre had its best chances in the first half. Rennes centerback Arthur Theate had to clear the ball off the line after inadvertently heading a cross against the post in the 12th minute. Rennes goalkeeper Steve Mandanda then parried an angled shot from Le Havre striker Mohamed Bayo in the 17th.
But Rennes found more space in the second half, nearly finding the net when Arnaud Kalimuendo’s deflected shot bounced off the bar in the 49th. Bourigeaud broke the deadlock in the 60th by firing a half-volley through the legs of goalkeeper Arthur Desmas.
The result sees Rennes leapfrog Marseille into seventh place while Le Havre stayed 11th.
The 21st round ends later Sunday with Clermont vs. Brest, Lorient vs. Reims, Toulouse vs. Nantes, Montpellier vs. Lyon and Nice vs. Monaco.
Paris Saint-Germain beat Lille 3-1 on Saturday to extend its lead at the top of the league to 11 points. (AP)
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