Trondheim (Norway) (AFP)

Stade Rennes qualified for the group stage of the Europa Conference Conference, their fourth European campaign in a row, by beating Norwegians Rosenborg 3-1 on Thursday in Trondheim.

With their 2-0 victory in the first leg, Rennes took the advantage in the 6th minute by Romain Del Castillo then killed the suspense on a header from Nayef Aguerd (41st).

Young Matthis Abline hit the nail on the head with his first professional goal (81st).

But Rosenborg never gave up and created several chances, reducing the score on a penalty converted by Stefano Vecchia (68th).

The group stage of the Europa Conference Conference, a new competition format that UEFA is launching this season, was a stated objective for Rennes officials.

Bruno Genesio's men, who will know their opponents in a group on Friday, now have the task of getting out of their pool to go as far as possible in the competition.

The last European campaigns have indeed not left great memories in Rennes, with the exception of that of 2018-2019, where the Rouge et Noir, led by Julien Stéphan, starting in a state of grace, had reached the 8th place. C3 final against Arsenal.

In the fall of 2019, they had not left their group of C3 and last year, they missed their first Champions League.

This year, the Pinault family, sole shareholder of the club, have put their hands in their pockets to ensure a solid transfer window estimated at more than 60 million euros, with the arrival announced Thursday of Croatian attacking midfielder Lovro Majer.

Thursday evening at Lerkendal Stadion in Trondheim, the lair of the Rosenborg club in the heart of a fjord in central Norway, the Rennes, without necessarily mastering the whole match, never let their opponents believe in their chances.

- Youth in power -

Very quickly, Del Castillo, whom the Norwegian defenders believed to be offside, scored on a ball deflected into the area by Serhou Guirassy (0-1, 6th).

Then Aguerd rose above the scrum on a corner from Benjamin Bourigeaud to double the lead (0-2, 41st).

Moroccan defender Nayef Aguerd scores against Rosenborg, during their qualifying match for the Europa League Conference, on August 19, 2021 at Roazhon Park LOIC VENANCE AFP / Archives

Vecchia was able to reduce the score on a whistled penalty when Alfred Gomis punched Noah Holm's header at the same time as the ball (1-2, 68th).

But Abline, 18 years old and until then 14 minutes in pro on the clock, did not tremble when the opportunity arose: entered 5 minutes earlier, he perfectly controlled a pass from Martin Terrier to follow up on a beautiful strike from the right (1-3, 81st).

Given Rennes' mastery, Genesio allowed himself to rotate his squad from the hour mark, to spare his executives before the championship match on Sunday in Angers and give the young shoots some playing time.

The joy of Rennes after their victory against Rosenborg, during their qualifying match for the Europa League Conference, August 19, 2021 at Roazhon Park LOIC VENANCE AFP / Archives

Rennes ended the match with five young players on the field from its training center.

Among them, the star Eduardo Camavinga, still not titular at the end of a summer poisoned by questions about his future, but who seemed more lively than in recent weeks.

© 2021 AFP