Rennes beats PSG in penalty shoot-out to win French Cup
Dani Alves had shot PSG ahead in the match at Stade de France in the 13th minute and returnee Neymar doubled the advantage eight minutes after. But defender Presnel Kimpembe gave Rennes a lifeline in the 40th minute by an own-goal. In the 66th minute, Rennes equalised with a strike by Mexer.
The match, watched by President Emmanuel Macron, dragged on to extra time, during which PSG’s Kylian Mbappe got a red card in the 118th minute for committing a rough foul on Damien Da Silva. The France star caught the Rennes defender on the knee with his studs and can expect a lengthy ban.
There were loud protests from teammates.
“He had a slight muscle injury yesterday, he stopped training early and went to hospital for tests. Maybe that was in his head,” said coach Thomas Tuchel.
“You got the feeling he was lacking confidence and didn’t feel free. The red card at the end, it’s not him.”
In the penalty shoot-out, M’baye Niang, Hatem Ben Arfa, Clement Grenier, James Lea Siliki, Ramy Bensebaini, Ismaila Sarr all scored for Rennes.
Edinson Cavani, Dani Alves, Leandro Daniel Paredes, Juan Bernat, Neymar, scored for PSG. But Christopher Nkunku, a substitute missed his sixth penalty by blazing his sudden-death spot-kick over the bar, handing over the crown to Rennes.
Rennes won the trophy in 1965 and 1971, but the Brittany club have painful memories of their past two finals — finishing as runners-up to neighbours Guingamp in both 2009 and 2014.
“It has been talked about enough at the club in the last few weeks for us to realise that we have achieved something historic,” said Rennes coach Julien Stephan.
The victory also means a return to the Europa League next season.
“We can stop talking about being losers. This title will change the history of the club,” added Stephan.
A disappointed Neymar said: “I am sad. We weren’t quite up to it, but there is no point crying about it now. There is nothing we can do.”