It was an unhappy return to the Groupama Stadium for Rennes head coach Bruno Génésio as he suffered a first defeat against his former club, and saw a 100% record against his old employers come to an end. However, the outcome looked set to be very different in a bright start for the visitors, as Birger Meling teed up by Benjamin Bourigeaud, whose shot was cleared off the line by Corentin Tolisso. Amine Gouiri came back to haunt his former club and gave Les Rouge et Noirs a deserved lead after linking up well with Arnaud Kalimuendo, easily bypassing Sinaly Diomandé before lashing a strike past Anthony Lopes.
Laurent Blanc’s side were living dangerously, with Castello Lukeba's attempted clearance ricocheting off Nicolás Tagliafico and into the path of Bourigeaud, whose shot hit the side netting. Gouiri then turned provider for Kalimuendo, but his effort was comfortably saved by Lopes. In contrast, Lyon looked well off the pace and failed to register a single shot on target in the first half - the closest they came to a clear-cut chance was when Alexandre Lacazette’s free-kick hit the wall as HT approached.
Blanc’s men had a penalty appeal turned down when the VAR determined that Lovro Majer did not deliberately bring down Lacazette inside the box, but those frustrations were quickly erased thanks to Tolisso’s excellent equaliser. The midfielder sent a superb swerving effort past Lopes to level the scores, as customary sounds of sirens rang around the Groupama Stadium. The game was then completely turned on its head when Lyon added a second through Lacazette, who was quickest to react to Johann Lepenant’s initial strike. After a tense wait for the VAR review to be completed, it was Blanc’s men that were in the ascendancy and Les Gones skipper had a 22nd goal of the season in all competitions.
The game effectively ended as a contest when Bradley Barcola scored his second goal in as many Ligue 1 games, sweeping in a cool finish past Lopes after some fine work by Rayan Cherki down the right-hand side. Rennes were a shadow of their first-half performance, but squandered a golden chance to reduce the deficit when Bourigeaud fired wide from Jérémy Doku's excellent cross. Defeat means Génésio’s side miss out on a chance to move up into the European places after seeing their three-match unbeaten run on the road come to an end. Meanwhile, this win for Lyon moves them up into seventh and five points adrift of LOSC Lille in fifth.