Rennes beats Ajaccio 3-1 to maintain European hope

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PARIS (AP) -Rennes beat struggling Ajaccio 3-1 on Sunday to win its fourth consecutive league game and keep alive its slim chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season.

Winger Julien Feret gave Rennes the lead in the 27th minute after defender Samuel Bouhours was earlier ejected for a dangerous tackle from behind on Jonathan Pitroipa.

Forward Abdoulrazak Boukari made it 2-0 in the 85th, before Brazilian striker Ilan got a goal back for Ajaccio.

Midfielder Yacine Brahimi sealed the win for Rennes in injury time.

Fourth-place Rennes moved to within five points of third-place Lille in the last Champions League spot, but defending champion Lille could move eight points clear of Rennes by beating Paris Saint-Germain later Sunday.

"We're in good form, but we've probably got the hardest run-in of all the teams going for third place," said Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti, whose team still has to play Montpellier and PSG.

"If there's a chance we'll try and take it," Antonetti added. "I don't know if the sending off had a bearing, because we created more chances than we normally do at home."

Ajaccio is one place above the relegation zone with four matches left.

In Sunday's other matches, last-place Auxerre boosted its chances of staying up with a 4-0 thrashing of Brest, which remains in 18th place.

All Auxerre's goals came in a first-half of free-flowing attacking football, with Edouard Cisse, Olivier Kapo, Alain Traore and Roy Contout getting a goal each. Auxerre remains rooted to the bottom but is only three points behind 17th-place Ajaccio.

Saint-Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 14th goal of the season was enough for a 1-0 win against Dijon.

Also, it was: Nancy 1, Caen 1; Sochaux 0, Bordeaux 3, and Valenciennes 2, Nice 0.

Caen got a valuable point in its relegation scrap, but had to settle for a draw after Nancy striker Benjamin Moukandjo's late goal canceled out M'Baye Niang's first-half effort.

Bordeaux cruised to victory at 19th-place Sochaux thanks to goals from Brazilian winger Jussie, midfielder Nicolas Maurice-Belay and forward Henri Saivet.

Sochaux finished the match with nine players after Sebastien Roudet and Modibo Maiga were sent off midway through the second half.

Nice played most of the match with 10 men after midfielder Kevin Anin was sent off in the 11th minute for a head-butt on Rudy Mater.

"He kicked the back of my leg, then there were a couple of insults," Mater said. "He then put his head against mine and butted me on the eyebrow."

Television images showed officials appearing to hold Anin back as he sought to confront Mater when the players left the pitch.

Midfielder Foued Kadir gave Valenciennes the lead and Didier Digard's own goal sealed victory for Valenciennes.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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