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Toulouse existed, Lens trampled… the tops and flops of the multiplex

By MC and TL

Published 9 minutes ago, Updated now

Toulouse showed a pretty face, Lens did not convince. REUTERS / PEDRO NUNES / AFP / SAMEER AL-DOUMY

This Thursday evening, Rennes fell to AC Milan (3-0). At the same time, Lens was held by Friborg (0-0) and Toulouse fell to Benfica (2-1).

TOPS

(Almost) heroic Toulouse residents

Faced with a Benfica team which has not experienced defeat since November 8, Toulouse did not allow itself to be impressed. Even the purple defense is not an all-risk insurance, the visitors held on for the entire first period. And when Di Maria opened the scoring, they didn’t give up, even going for the equalizer. Up in the area, Desler finds the right move, and his volley beats Anatoliy Trubin thanks to his power. Téfécé thought they had achieved their near feat, until a second error stained the Toulouse copy (2-1).

Milan a assuré

Returned to the Europa League after their third place in the Champions League behind Dortmund and PSG, the Rossoneri are one of the favorites for the C3 title. This Thursday evening at San Siro, there’s no question of missing out. Against Rennes, the men of Théo Hernandez – captain for one evening – were surgical and did not let anything slip (3-0). Rennes’ errors were quickly punished by three goals from Leao and a double from Loftus-Cheek. This AC Milan will travel to Rennes next Thursday without too much pressure.

Gouiri brought freshness

Despite the Breton shipwreck, some Rennais showed some reasons for satisfaction. This is the case of Amine Gouiri, who came off the bench in the 67th minute. In a meeting marked by Milan’s domination, the Algerian international brought color to Rennes’ dull record, creating a few opportunities, including a face-to-face with Maignan won by the French goalkeeper . Also, he brought danger thanks to his liveliness and his range of dribbling. Against the grain of Kalimuendo, Gouiri tried to launch the revolt, in vain.

FLOPS

Lens, simple passage à vide ?

The Lens with its attractive face in the first Champions League matches, was it the same this Thursday evening? Not sure. Like the Haïdara-Frankowski and El Aynaoui-Diouf connections, or the 15 unusual ball losses of center forward Sotoca, the Sang et Or did not achieve much against Friborg (0-0). Often caught by Doan’s speed and Sallai’s calls, Franck Haise’s men never managed to develop their game. Haïdara’s goal could have liberated them but… it was finally refused. When they return next Thursday, Lens will travel with a lot of pressure on their shoulders. And the fear of being eliminated in the Europa League play-offs.

Kevin Danso, an absence that will count

Lens didn’t need that. In the 42nd minute of play, Kevin Danso was guilty of a late foul on Friborg player Höfler. Warned of a yellow card, the Austrian defender will miss the return match next Thursday in Germany. A real blow as Lensois – one of the fans’ favorites – was important despite the draw. The solid central recovered 10 balls and succeeded in 94% of his passes (63/67 attempts). Above all, he saved his team on the hour mark when Makengo then Eggenstein put pressure on the Lensois in their area. Danso sacrificed himself on his line to avoid a goal. At the end of the match, while Sallai was sought in depth, the Austrian made a saving return by passing in front of the Hungarian and recovering the ball. His absence will hurt his teammates who will have to be strong to avoid elimination.

Toulouse sabotaged itself

The Toulouse residents did not come far from a great performance on Portuguese soil. In vain. This frustration is due to the two goals conceded, caused by obvious errors from the defense, which had nevertheless managed to contain the Lisbon ardor. Logan Costa was the first to foul in the area. The Cape Verdean let his hand drag where it shouldn’t. Di Maria rejoices and beats Guillaume Restes for the first time from the penalty spot. At the end of added time, and while Téf’ had equalized, Mawissa Elabi was late and placed his crampons on Marcos Leonardo’s foot. Di Maria grabbed the ball again and punished the Violets. The men of Carles Martinez Novel can harbor regrets.

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