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Cheyrou converts for Rennes relief

Stade Rennais FC 1-1 SK Brann Bruno Cheyrou converted a late penalty to salvage a point for Stade Rennais FC at home to the Norwegian champions.

Bruno Cheyrou converted a late penalty to salvage a point for Stade Rennais FC at home to Norwegian champions SK Brann in UEFA Cup Group D.

Off the mark
A first-half header from Azar Karadas had given Brann a lead they defended stoutly only for Cheyrou to equalise two minutes from time when Jires Ekoko was tripped. The visitors' disappointment was compounded when Hassan El-Fakiri was dismissed in injury time but both sides are off the mark following Matchday 1 defeats.

Leroy denied
Brann, who lost to Hamburger SV a fortnight ago, began brightly in France and Thorstein Helstad shot into the side-netting in the tenth minute. Rennes, beaten by FC Basel 1893 in their opener, responded and the best chance in a sustained spell of pressure fell to Jérôme Leroy, his volley superbly saved by Håkon Opdal.

Surprise lead
But then, against the run of play, Brann took the lead from a corner, Karadas beating Petter Hansson in the air to power in a header. It was all Rennes from then on, Hansson heading a Sylvain Marveaux corner wide and Jimmy Briand flicking Leroy's cross over. Moments after failing to get enough purchase on a Rod Fanni centre, Mickaël Pagis then hit the crossbar with a terrific volley from Cyril Jeunechamp's left-wing cross.

Little changed after the break, Cheyrou volleying past Opdal but just wide of the post in the 49th minute and Leroy testing the goalkeeper from distance. Opdal's opposite number Patrice Luzi turned over a goalbound Helstad effort in a rare Brann foray forward. It looked as if the visitors would hold out until Ekoko was tripped as he strode into the box, and Cheyrou made no mistake from the spot. El-Fakiri was shown a straight red card in added time for a challenge on Marveaux, but Brann held on.