PARIS (AP) — Defender Damien Da Silva was involved at both ends of the field as Rennes won 1-0 away to Nantes to climb into sixth place in the French league on Sunday.
He put Rennes ahead with a glancing header from forward Hatem Ben Arfa's free kick after 13 minutes. Ben Arfa has set up both his goals this season.
With Nantes pushing for an equalizer during a frantic second half, Da Silva appeared to block a goal-bound shot with his arm. Claims for a penalty were waved away by referee Ruddy Buquet, whose video assistants either did not spot the infraction or deemed it an accidental handball.
Then, in the closing stages, Da Silva made a legitimate block to keep Nantes at bay.
Earlier, Buquet had consulted VAR to rule out a sixth-minute Nantes goal from defender Diego Carlos for a handball.
Rennes coach Julien Stephan — who is the son of France's World Cup-winning assistant coach Guy Stephan — had made a great start to his fledgling managerial career with four straight league wins after taking charge one month ago.
This hard-fought victory ensured continued bragging rights for Rennes over mid-table Nantes, which has not beaten Rennes at home in 14 years.
In Sunday's later matches, Montpellier travelled to Dijon needing a win to move up to third place and Toulouse faced Strasbourg.
Also, Marseille was looking to reclaim sixth spot with a home win against 19th-place Monaco in Sunday's late game. Former Chelsea, Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas was set to make his Monaco debut after joining on Friday.
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