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Jan 23, 2022 at 2pm UK
Da Cunha (60'), Tell (71')
Abdul Samed (44'), Hountondji (90+1')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Santamaria (19')
Truffert (65'), Martin (75'), Ugochukwu (86')

Preview: Clermont vs. Rennes - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Clermont vs. Rennes - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Clermont and Rennes, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Following an emphatic 6-0 victory last weekend against Bordeaux, Rennes could be as high as third in Ligue 1 with a win away to Clermont and some help when they face them at Stade Gabriel Montpied on Sunday.

Les Lanciers have yet to find the back of the net this year and are winless in their previous four matches played in all competitions, while Stade Rennais picked up win number one of 2022 as they currently sit in fifth, three points back of Olympique de Marseille for third.

Match preview

A lack of attention to detail hurt Clermont once again this week, as they are barely hanging onto a place in the top-flight next season, sitting just a point ahead of Les Girondins.

Pascal Gastien's men have been especially susceptible to counters in recent games, and that proved to be their undoing versus a highly potent Strasbourg side, who went ahead a minute before half time through Kevin Gameiro and were able to shut the game down in the second half as Clermont only had one effort on target, with Cedric Hountondji scoring on his own goal to ensure defeat for Les Lanciers (2-0).

Even though they have failed to score this year, this group have had their share of opportunities, but they seem to be a tad too passive when in their opponent's penalty area and are a little shy to shoot.

With only one win in their last 11, things have not gone their way, but aside from a lopsided defeat to Monaco last week (4-0), this team have had a chance to earn plenty of points over that stretch, drawing twice and losing six times by a single goal.

They have only faced Rennes once before, and it was a match that this team would rather forget as they were under siege from the opening whistle and could only keep Les Rouges et Noir at bay for 32 minutes, conceding twice by the end of the first half, and eventually falling 6-0.

Now that this group are really up against it, fighting desperately to stay in the league, Gastien has called on his players to stay united and move forward together to try to avoid relegation.

Not even dismantling Les Marines et Blanc last Sunday could bring a smile to Bruno Genesio, who was critical of his team afterwards, as they failed to put away some early opportunities to go in front.

The match seemed like a forgone conclusion shortly after the hour mark, with Stade Rennais up by three, but the former Lyon boss did not look like a happy camper in his press conference following the game, criticising his players for taking their foot off the gas late, even though they did score twice in the final few minutes.

His comments could be perceived as a psychological move to ensure that this group remain focused on what lies ahead, because while Rennes have had some lopsided wins this season, they seem to follow up those significant victories with dismal performances, drawing Bordeaux 1-1 after a 6-0 win against Clermont and losing 2-1 to Nice despite thumping Saint-Etienne 5-0 in their previous Ligue 1 affair.

As Genesio put it, the big clubs leave nothing to their opposition even when you are well ahead, and there is no question that Les Rennais are striving to be one of the elite clubs in France, currently only a point back of Strasbourg for a place in the Europa League group stage next season.

After starting the month of December with a win over Saint-Etienne, their fifth straight match without a defeat on the road in league play, they have suffered a minor setback, losing consecutive top-flight matches away from home and failing to fire a single shot on target at Lens.

If Clermont want a few lessons on scoring, Rennes might be able to teach them a thing or two, as Les Rouges et Noir are third in Ligue 1 at the moment with 40 goals, their highest tally after 21 top-flight matches since their 1965-66 season (44) when they finished in sixth.

Clermont Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Clermont form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Rennes Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Rennes form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

Clermont midfielder Jodel Dossou chipped in with 12 goals a season ago in Ligue 2, but he has failed to score in the top flight this season, while goalkeeper Ouparine Djoco has not fared much better than their previous first-choice keeper Arthur Desmas, with the Frenchman having faced 17 shots on target in his last three games, conceding six goals.

Desmas is out for the next few weeks due to an unknown issue, and Jean-Claude Billong continues to recover from an ankle injury.

Their leading goalscorer Mohamed Bayo has featured in all three matches for his country at the Africa Cup of Nations, as Guinea are through to the knockout stage and will face Gambia on Monday, Jim Allevinah has scored a goal in each of his last two games played for Gabon, who battle Burkina Faso on Sunday, while Saif-Eddine Khaoui and Tunisia are into the Round of 16 of that competition, and will take on Nigeria this weekend.

Martin Terrier picked up his 10th goal of the campaign for Rennes last weekend, and he is even with Gaetan Laborde for most on the team, with the latter also finding the back of the net versus Bordeaux, with the other goals coming from Benjamin Bourigeaud, Adrien Truffert and Sehrou Guirassy, who tallied twice in three minutes.

Alfred Gomis has been on the bench for all three Senegal games at the Africa Cup of Nations, as Seny Dieng started in their first two group fixtures with Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy getting the call in a 0-0 draw with Malawi, while Kamaldeen Sulemana and Ghana were eliminated from the tournament following a shock defeat to Comoros, Nayef Aguerd and Morocco topped Group C and will face Malawi on Tuesday and Hamari Traore and Mali also finished first in their group, as they get set to clash with Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday.

Flavien Tait is still nursing a groin injury, Romain Salin has a calf issue and Jeremy Gelin will not be available until early March due to an ACL problem.

Clermont possible starting lineup:
Djoco; Zedadka, Albert, Phojo, N'Simba; Samed, Gastien, Berthomier; Seidu, Diaby, Rashani

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Alemdar; Assignon, Omari, Bade, Truffert; Diouf, Santamaria, Majer, Bourigeaud; Terrier, Laborde

We say: Clermont 0-3 Rennes

Playing on their home field might help Clermont keep the score a little more respectable for a while, but with their top attacking threat on international duty, plus the quality and scoring depth that Rennes possess, we expect to see Les Rouges et Noir eventually find a breakthrough and should that happen, the floodgates could open for them to score a couple more.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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