Rennes wonderkid Ismaila Sarr is developing quite the reputation for conning Ligue 1 referees, and his latest contribution against Troyes has done little to shake the stigma.
The Senegal international is a supreme dribbler, but he also has a habit for going to ground easily, with Troyes boss Jean-Louis Garcia the latest to complain about the attacker’s simulation after his side were beaten 2-0 by Les Rouges et Noirs in the French top flight on Saturday.
Twice he tumbled in the box at Roazhon Park, with the referee awarding a penalty on the first instance – it was duly dispatched by Wahbi Khazri to give Rennes the lead – before booking Sarr for diving on the second.
“I can tell you, because I looked at the images 10 times, it’s an imaginary penalty,” raged Garcia in his post-match press conference [as per L’Equipe]. “It’s simulation from Ismaila Sarr.
“He’s the one who sends his right leg towards the legs of Jimmy [Giraudon], and who falls in an unnatural way,” he added, “turning his shoulders.
“It’s pure simulation, and the referee has let himself be fooled.”
Sarr may be the third most fouled player in Ligue 1 – after Neymar and Nabil Fekar – but amongst the many legitimate offences, he’s also cultivating a reputation for duping officials.
“It’s not the first time,” added Garcia. “We’ve seen a video montage of this player and we see that he often falls voluntarily in the box, he does it regularly.
“I love this player, he’s full of qualities, but Malcolm [of Bordeaux] has been banned for two matches for simulation, so we’ll see if the referee has the honesty to recognise the Rennes [case as well].”
As noted by Garcia, Sarr’s cheating for the first penalty certainly changed the complexion of Saturday’s clash, with little to separate the two sides before Khazri netted the opener from the spot.
“Everything fell apart on Sarr’s cheating,” he concluded. “I’m totally in agreement with saying that we need to protect attackers from the kind of violence that he received against Saint-Etienne, it’s horrible.
“However, simulators must also be punished.”
19-year-old Sarr, who joined Rennes from Metz last year, learned his trade at Senegalese champions Generation Foot, and could be in contention to feature for the Indomitable Lions at the World Cup in Russia later this year.
Ed Dove is the Soccer Editor for KweséESPN. Follow him on Twitter @EddyDove.