Club Atlético de Madrid will be among the top seeds in Friday's UEFA Europa League round of 32 draw after Los Rojiblancos enjoyed a comfortable triumph against Stade Rennais FC.
Needing only to avoid defeat against the Ligue 1 side to ensure top spot in Group I, Gregorio Manzano's team rarely looked threatened after Falcao – netting his third goal of the competition from the penalty spot – and Álvaro Domínguez scored in quick succession before the break. Arda Turan was on target 12 minutes from time with Georges Mandjeck scoring a Rennes consolation late on.
Rennes had failed to win a single UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage encounter in 13 attempts before the game in the Spanish capital, yet Frédéric Antonetti's side looked determined to correct that from the start.
The lively Yassine Jebbour created the visitors' first attempt, delivering a right-wing cross that Alexander Tettey volleyed wide. Moments later, the French outfit came even closer when Luis Perea inadvertently glanced Yacine Brahimi's free-kick in Chris Mavinga's direction, only for the defender's close-range header to hit the frame of the goal.
The 2010 winners were on course to finish top of the section from the 38th minute. Falcao made no mistake with his penalty after Adrián López was upended by Mandjeck. The hosts had never previously lost to French opposition at the Estadio Vicente Calderón and that record looked safe three minutes before the break when Rennes goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo misjudged the flight of Domínguez's header from Diego's free-kick.
Tettey and then Brahimi drew smart saves from Sergio Asenjo after the restart but Atlético dominated thereafter and grabbed a third when Arda pounced on Onyekachi Apam's slip before finishing with ease. Mandjeck rose highest from Brahimi's corner to score Rennes' consolation four minutes from time.
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