PARIS (AP) — Rennes kept pace in the race for Champions League places by beating Lorient 5-0 to regain third place in the French league on Sunday.
Benjamin Bourigeaud opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a half-volley into the roof of the net.
Martin Terrier doubled the lead with a fine finish two minutes later to score his 21st league goal, one behind top scorer Kylian Mbappe.
Rennes captain Hamari Traoré made it 3-0 by heading in a cross from Bourigeaud in the 47th minute.
One of the league’s most underrated players, Bourigeaud is enjoying a career season with nine goals and 12 assists.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 58th minute when Nayef Aguerd was sent off for a foul on Lorient striker Armand Lauriente, who charged on goal.
Flavien Tait increased the lead with a deflected long shot in the 79th before Gaetan Laborde took advantage of a counter-attack to seal the victory in stoppage time.
“We made mistakes in previous games,” Tait told Amazon Prime Video. “Here, we found our defensive solidity, we fought for each other.”
Rennes are level on points with Monaco and trail second-placed Marseille by three points.
France‘s top two clubs enter the Champions League group stage while the third-placed side advance to the third qualifying round of the lucrative European competition.
Lorient remained three points above the relegation zone.
Also on Sunday, substitute Khephren Thuram scored in the fourth minute of added time to help Nice edge Troyes 1-0 and stay two points behind Rennes.
Nantes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat relegation-threatened Bordeaux 5-3. Nigerian striker Moses Simon gave Nantes a 4-3 lead in the 76th before Osman Bukari cast doubt on the result with a downward header in the 89th.
The Metz full-back saw their winless streak extend to 13 games as they lost 1-0 to Brest in mid-table. Algerian winger Youcef Belaili scored the only goal by converting a cross in the 27th. Metz finished the game with just nine men as goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja and defender Jemerson were sent off in the second half.
Clermont moved two points above the relegation zone as they salvaged a 2-2 draw with Angers. Mohamed Bayo in the 71st and Luca Da Cunha in the 82nd scored for Clermont to erase a 2-0 deficit.
The 34th round ends later on Sunday with Reims against Marseille and Lille against Strasbourg.
Runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain clinched a record 10th league title by drawing with Lens 1-1 on Saturday. ___
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