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Wesley Fofana showed why Brendan Rodgers expects him to become a world star by returning from injury to score his first Leicester goal and seal a place in the last eight of the Europa Conference League.
The French defender had not played since breaking a leg and damaging ankle ligaments in an August friendly with Villarreal, but he crowned a superb display with the decisive goal early in the second half of a game that threatened to boil over.
Rennes boss Bruno Genesio and Leicester midfielder Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall were booked after the final whistle and players had to be separated by stewards when substitute James Maddison riled his opponents with wild celebrations.
Leicester survive a Rennes comeback to book their spot in the Conference League quarters
And it was Wesley Fofana’s header that secured Leicester’s spot in the last eight
Fofana scored in his first game of the campaign after suffering a long-term injury in pre-season
The young Frenchman runs to celebrate his goal with Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers
MATCH FACTS AND LEICESTER PLAYER RATINGS
RENNES: (4-3-3) Alemdar; Traore, Omari, Aguerd, Truffert (Meling 76); Majer, Martin (Tait 58), Santamaria; Bourigeaud, Laborde (Tchaouna 77), Terrier (Guirassy 68)
Subs not used: Damergy (GK); Belocian, Tel, Diouf, Assignon, Ugochukwu, Bonet
Goals: Bourigeaud (8), Tait (76)
Bookings: Laborde (47), Aguerd (71), Omari (90+6)
Coach: Bruno Genesio
LEICESTER: (4-3-3) Schmeichel 7; Justin 6, Amartey 7, FOFANA 8 (Vestergaard 78min), Thomas 5; Tielemans 6.5, Ndidi 6.5 (Maddison 60, 6) Dewsbury-Hall 7; Albrighton 6 (Lookman 12, 6.5, (Pereira 79)), Iheanacho 7.5, Barnes 6
Subs not used: Odunze (GK); Perez, Choudhury, Jakupovic
Goals: Fofana (51)
Bookings: Iheanacho (90+5), Maddison (90+8)
Coach: Brendan Rodgers 7
Referee: Tasos Sidiropoulos (Greece) 5
Man of the Match: Wesley Fofana (Leicester City)
Venue: Roazhon Park (Rennes)
Earlier, Warmed Omari was lucky not to be sent off for a dangerous tackle on Harvey Barnes, and for pushing James Justin in the face.
‘Wesley is on the path to being a top player and you see the difference he makes,’ said Foxes boss Rodgers.
‘He has a top mentality and he was outstanding. Games like this are character-building for this team and to beat Rennes over two legs bodes well.’
Two goals down from the first leg, Rennes took an early lead through Benjamin Bourigeaud and after Fofana equalised early in the second half, substitute Flavien Tait restored Rennes’ advantage in the 76th minute.
Rennes got off to the dream with Benjamin Bourigeaud breaking the deadlock early on
The Rennes forward was found inside a packed penalty area to tap home inside eight minutes
The strike reduced Leicester’s two-goal first leg deficit to set up an exhilarating tie
However, it was then Fofana’s turn to dream as he headed in his first ever goal for Leicester
The French defender ran straight to his manager to celebrate the goal that sent them through
In a fabulous atmosphere, Bourigeaud nipped in to turn in the low ball in the eighth minute. To make matters worse, Marc Albrighton was injured in the build-up and replaced by Ademola Lookman.
After the break unmarked Fofana rose to glance in Lookman’s corner off the post. After the frustration, the 21-year-old embraced Rodgers and coach Kolo Toure.
Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had settled it but the Nigerian was offside.
And 14 minutes from time, Rennes went ahead after Tait’s 25-yarder was deflected past Kasper Schmeichel by Fofana.
By this time missiles were being launched by the hardcore home fans behind the goal, with one coming close to Lookman — a substituted substitute — as he walked off. Schmeichel made a remarkable stop from Serhou Guirassyas Leicester held on.
Rennes responded, scoring their second of the night to make it a one-goal deficit once again
Second-half substitute Flavien Tait managed to squeeze his deflected shot past Schmeichel
Kelechi Iheanacho had the ball in the back of the net but his strike was ruled out for offside
A tense finish saw both sides clash with Rennes claiming they deserved a penalty
Foxes veteran Schmeichel does his best to calm things down deep into stoppage time
Fofana celebrates after the full-time whistle with his goal sending Leicester through
Source: DailyMail Sports