As Paris Saint-Germain wereand romping to a 5-0 win over FC Metz at Parc des Princes, Ligue 1 was delivering a concentrated dose of final day drama across the rest of France. Olympique de Marseille, Stade Rennais, Girondins de Bordeaux, AS Saint-Etienne and Metz themselves all had plenty to play for in the closing round, and Le Championnat did not disappoint with plenty of late drama.
We look at the final shakeup.
Marseille in second
Thanks to a 4-0 thrashing of RC Strasbourg Alsace, OM are back in the UEFA Champions League next season with Gerson scoring twice as Cengiz Under and Cedric Bakambu also ensured that Jorge Sampaoli’s men left nothing to chance. It was a bitter blow for Julian Stephan’s impressive Racing outfit who fell agonizingly short of Europe at the last moment, but the win sparked jubilation in OM owner Frank McCourt’s camp.
Third for Monaco
There was late drama in Lens as AS Monaco were held to a 2-2 draw after Ignatius Ganago’s late leveler for the hosts which meant that Marseille secured second place by two points late on. Benoit Badiashile and Wissam Ben Yedder canceled out Przemyslaw Frankowski’s opener and looked to have completed a late burst from Philippe Clement’s men to take an automatic Champions League berth before Ganago’s late effort confirmed third place and a qualifying spot. The principality outfit’s form was so good that they finished Ligue 1 as the form team of 2022 with an outstanding nine wins from 10 matches to complete their epic sprint finish into the UCL opening rounds.
After the match, Monaco owner Dmitry Rybolovlev said: “The cruel scenario of this final match must not make us forget the last episodes of the battle that we waged in Ligue 1. At the end of a season that was marked by ups and downs, I would like to see us remember the fighting spirit shown by the players and the coaching staff. The team went through difficult periods, but did not give up. Instead, they went on an excellent unbeaten run and were rewarded for their effort with the club’s seventh podium finish since AS Monaco returned to Ligue 1 nine years ago.”
Like Strasbourg, RC Lens were European hopefuls until late in the campaign but they just fell short of continental qualification after a brave effort from Franck Haise’s plucky side.
Rennes take fourth
Strasbourg ended up finishing three points shy of Bruno Genesio’s Rennes and that is after the Breton outfit twice fought back against Timothy Weah-inspired Lille OSC to draw 2-2 against the deposed champions. The USMNT star twice put LOSC ahead only for Benjamin Bourigeaud to level once and then ex-Dogue Sehrou Guirassy to save the vital point at the death which ensured a finish above OGC Nice who somehow fought back from 2-0 down away at Stade de Reims to win 3-2 thanks to a seven-minute Andy Delort hat-trick.
Lyon miss Europe
Although it was settled prior to the final day, Lyon missing out on Europe continues their recent decline after a Champions League semifinal appearance just two years ago. A 2-1 win away at Clermont Foot 63 counted for little and Peter Bosz’s men must now retool to come back stronger next campaign.
Bordeaux and Metz go down
As good as decided before the final round of games, Bordeaux’s relegation was confirmed despite a 4-2 win away at Stade Brestois 29 which promoted maligned owner Gerard Lopez to publish a soul-searching club statement ahead of what promises to be a turbulent summer.
“It is a failure,” he wrote. “Collective and personal. As president, I assume my share of responsibility. Like all of you, I am deeply upset at this relegation which means we must think of the future differently. On this extremely sad day, my thoughts are with the fans, club employees, partners, and all lovers of the club. This season, we have not been up to the task. There are many reasons why and how this has happened. Changes are expected for next season, necessary changes which do not alter my ambitions as a leader. It will be difficult, but we must believe in a revival.”
Metz’s thumping in Paris as well as Saint-Etienne’s draw in Nantes meant that Les Grenats also drop out of the topflight despite having given themselves a shot at survival with recent results.
Saint-Etienne to face Auxerre
That tie in Nantes gives Saint-Etienne 180 minutes to save their Ligue 1 status against Ligue 2 outfit AJ Auxerre, who are targeting a return to the elite themselves after seeing off Paris FC and FC Sochaux Montbeliard in the second-tier playoffs. Pascal Dupraz’s men had club favorite Romain Hamouma to thank for his equalizer away against the Coupe de France champions which gives them hope of a reprieve.