In the first Champions League round of games, Rennes faced Fc Krasnodar in group E. Julien Stephan’s side finished 3rd in the abbreviated Ligue 1 season while Krasnodar also finished 3rd in the Russian Premier League. The game was hard fought with both sides sharing a point, but two young men stood out for the French side – Eduardo Camavinga and Jeremy Doku. Camavinga started the game while Jeremy Doku came on from the bench.
Written in the Stars
Camavinga made his debut against PSG at the beginning of the 19/20 season while only 16 years old. He has not looked back since then. Wearing the number 18 shirt, he rode big boy challenges and delivered an immense performance against the French champions. He was majestic, elegant, brave, and tenacious
The lanky kid moved the ball with gait, poise and precision. Playing in the holding midfield position, Camavinga was aggressive in the tackle and clean in possession. He provided the assist for the winning goal of the game. His ball carriage is elite and reminds one immediately of the great Fernando Redondo.
In front or behind the ball, he is good. This season, he took the number 10 shirt and moved to a more advanced role in Rennes’ 4-3-3. His quality on and off the ball means he can do more than anchor the midfield. Despite the change in position, he is still pushing for the top.
The Angola-born wonder-kid recently became the youngest Frenchman to score for Les Blues, and he almost became the first to score for Rennes in the Champions League as he fired a shot that Matvey Safonov tipped over the bar in the 34th minute. Another shot was gathered by the keeper who was arguably the man of the match.
Throughout the first half, he was unplayable, dropping deep to help out veteran Steven N’zonzi (who has taken the holding midfield role). When he carried the ball forward, only fouls could stop him. He kept his passing tidy and his high football intelligence led him to make the right decisions when pressured.
He was mellow in the second half as Krasnodar came out more eager and he picked up a yellow card later on. He still looked better than his elders on the pitch whether in possession or trying to recover it. He left the pitch in the 81st minute. Even though his second half was calm, he showed his class throughout the game. The scouts that have been monitoring him from all over Europe must have been smiling to themselves. The kid is set for big things in his career.
Jeremy Doku arrived at Rennes from Anderlecht where he has spent majority of his young football life. The winger usually operates on the left but with Martin Terrier still on, he played on the right. From the moment he stepped on the pitch, there was a problem for the Russian side down their left. He was electric, fiery & difficult to stop. He was creating combinations that gave him space to attack behind the Krasnodar defense or to run at them. He was with shooting or creating shooting chances for others.
Every team needs a player with this sort of x-factor. The Belgian international who already has a goal for his country is always compared to Sadio Mane. It is easy to see why. Strong, athletic, blessed with creativity in dribbling, passing, & crossing. Doku can strike the ball too
Serhou Guirassy, already with 5 goals and an assist this season will enjoy Doku’s dribbling and creativity. His first contribution to the game when he came on in the 62nd minute was a shot which the goalkeeper spilled but later managed to recover. His second contribution was a piercing run & he sent a cross for a shot which Safonov spilled again.
He attacks every ball with purpose and he is constantly creating danger. He will be starting very soon and it will be interesting to watch his development alongside Camavinga.
What does the future hold
The Brittany side have two gems in Camavinga and Doku. If they can keep them for long while adding further quality to the side then they can mount a challenge for the title under Florian Maurice and Julien Stephan. The side is tactically brilliant, and they only need a few more additions to challenge for the Ligue 1 title. Nayef Aguerd, Martin Terrier, Guirassy & Doku have been fantastic additions. Camavinga is the elegant link between midfield and attack. Rennes is an exciting team to follow with their bright young gems.