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Ligue 1: Rennes beat Auxerre, La Havre win

First-half strikes from Carlos Bocanegra and Jimmy Briand earned Rennes victory over Auxerre today.

Bocanegra returned from suspension to net after eight minutes and Briand scored a second 10 minutes before half-time as Rennes recorded a third win in four Ligue 1 matches to climb to sixth place.

Auxerre, meanwhile, saw their five-match unbeaten run come to an end and slipped to 12th in the standings.

Rennes made a strong start, taking the lead early on when Bocanegra headed in Mickael Pagis' cross.

Rennes claimed a second after Romain Danz released Pagis, who hit a cross on the volley for Briand to net a stunning shot with the inside of his right boot.

Rennes continued to create in the second half, with Olivier Sorin forced to save from Pagis before Danz shot off target.

Auxerre almost pulled one back when Kamel Cahfni ran down the right and Rennes defender Stephane Mbia failed to deal with it.

However, goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez saved Mbia's blushes by saving from Kahlenberg.

Kahlenberg again failed to find the net late on when his left-foot volley from 10 yards was blocked by defender Petter Hansson as Rennes kept a clean sheet and extended their unbeaten run.

Le Havre breathed new life into their fight to avoid relegation with a vital win against fellow strugglers Sochaux this afternoon.

The hosts came into the game 11 points adrift of second-bottom St Etienne and having lost 10 of their previous 11 league games.

Sochaux remain in the bottom three and they would have expected more after Jacques Faty put them ahead in the 11th minute. But Amadou Alassane equalised and Kevin Anin struck the winner seven minutes into the second half.

Sochaux's challenge petered out when Nicolas Maurice-Belay was sent off 15 minutes from time.

Faty opened the scoring from the first attack of note, firing Ryad Boudebouz's free-kick first time past home keeper Christophe Revault.

Le Havre could have let their heads drop but they conjured up an equaliser within four minutes. Alassane and Hassane Alla combined for the former to slide the ball past Teddy Richert.

Alassane almost grabbed a quickfire second but was denied by a wonderful Richert save.

The visiting keeper excelled once more on the stroke of half-time with a fine block to keep out an Alla shot from a tight angle.

The pressure finally told in the second half when Sochaux lost possession on the edge of their area and Anin capitalised with a powerful shot past Richert.

Maurice-Belay did little to aid his team's quest for an equaliser by picking up his second yellow of the afternoon for a foul on Maxime Baca.

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