Colin Crawford is a museum worker with a well cultivated taste for the arcane and unusual. Buy him a cup of tea and he’ll talk about anything to do with soccer.
This season Colin is exploring Ligue 1, club by club. This week? En Avant de Guingamp!
This game, rather amazingly dubbed ‘The Celtico’, is not a derby that will linger long in the memories of the Guingampais. They seemed to have a hold on the Rennes team, beating them in two cup finals in the past six years, but neither team could really get a grip on the game on Friday night.
Guingamp lined up in a white jersey that showed promise, but was just too busy. The collar was a button up henley, as well as being striped, and the pattern on the front of the shoulders was two colours, when just one would have sufficed. I think this is just generally a problem for French football teams, as they fill every available space with a sponsor logo, although one I’m very intrigued by is Breizh Cola. It’s a new cola that is only available in Brittany, and they seem to have a spot on every Breton team’s jersey. Well, the ads work, so if you can get your hands on some, sent it to Toronto and I will offer up a review.
Back the football, and the first half came and went without much in the way of form or shape, and even less in the way of incident. The best chance of the first half fell to Thibault Giresse (son of the great Alain!) when he took advantage of the yawning chasm between the Rennes midfield and back line. He drifted in from the left and was all alone on the penalty spot when he was found with a squared pass, but he got his shape all wrong and sent the ball high into the stands.
The game got interesting after the 68th minute. Moustapha Diallo was judged to have pulled back Paul-Georges Ntep in the penalty area, who had looked the most likely to spark this game into life in the absence of Yoann Gourcuff. It was a…soft…incorrect…criminal, call for the ref to give, but it meant Diallo saw his second yellow card and gave Rennes a chance to score from the spot. Kamil Grosicki stepped up but his shot was well-saved by Karl-Johann Johnsson to keep it level.
Guingamp then had a great chance to actually take the lead in the 80th minute. Some stout defending saw them transition quickly into attack and gave them a 3 on 1 break! Jimmy Briand had the ball in the centre of the field and moved it to the right for Yannis Salibur, who smashed his shot over the bar.
The goal came on pretty much the last kick of the ball, as Rennes were able to pull Guingamp out of their own end and break at them. Pedro Henrique was fed a delicious ball setting him free on the left, and his first time ball was converted by Adama Diakhaby, a player smarter people than me have said is one to keep an eye on. It was a goal that prompted wild celebrations in the stands and saw Rennes keeper Diego Costil sprint the length of the pitch to join in the party. Rennes remain the team with a player that most sounds like a warlock, full-back Ludovic Baal turning in a solid, if anonymous performance.
More from Colin: