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Leroy lets Rennes give Stabæk the slip

Stade Rennais FC 2-0 Stabæk IF
Two Jérôme Leroy goals helped the French side shake off the challenge of the Norwegian league leaders and confirm a UEFA Cup first round berth.

Jérôme Leroy was Rennes' match-winner
Jérôme Leroy was Rennes' match-winner ©Getty Images

A Jérôme Leroy double helped Stade Rennais FC shake off the challenge of Tippeligaen leaders Stabæk IF and book a place in the UEFA Cup first round draw.

Rescue mission
Rennes had lost the first leg in Norway 2-1, but the French side started the decider in determined fashion with Leroy opening the scoring after 37 minutes. That put Guy Lacombe's team ahead on away goals and Leroy's second with eleven minutes left confirmed their qualification, 3-2 on aggregate.

Injury blow
The Brittany club began impressively and Stabæk's Morten Morisbak Skjønsberg had to clear a Carlos Bocanegra header off his own goalline before Olivier Thomert's low strike flew just wide. The visitors then suffered a major setback as captain and centre-back Mike Kjølø was carried off in the 34th minute with a shoulder injury, having fallen awkwardly in his own area. With Kjølø having scored both goals in the clubs' first meeting a fortnight ago, it was not just his leadership they missed.

Crucial strike
Three minutes later, Jan Jönsson's side were behind as Jimmy Briand was felled in the box by Pontus Farnerud. Leroy's penalty was parried by Jon Knudsen, but the midfielder followed up to place the rebound over the goalkeeper. With the goal they needed in the bank, Rennes played the second half on the counterattack and Briand nearly doubled the advantage on two occasions. With time ebbing away, Thomert found himself in space and cut the ball back to an unmarked Leroy who sealed the win and Rennes' progress.