Ligue 1: Matchday 36 Review
The Ligue 1 title has already been decided, with PSG romping home to yet another trophy. There’s still lots going on in Ligue 1 though. Will St-Étienne or Montpellier claim a 4th spot and a place in the Europa League? And will the once mighty Monaco be relegated from the league? Matchday 36 didn’t answer these questions definitively, however fans of the league were certainly given a glimpse of what could happen at the end of the season…
PSG Scrape Victory Over Angers
We start first with PSG, who are already champions and can afford to see out the rest of the season on cruise control. They traveled to Angers over the weekend, and only just managed to scrape a 2-1 victory. Fans certainly won’t be happy to see their club only just managing to overcome such inferior opposition. However, they will be glad to finally see PSG’s streak of away losses come to an end.
It was Neymar who scored the opening goal of the game before he turned provider and set up Ángel Di María for the second. Marquinhos was then shown a straight red in the 85th minute before Flavien Tait grabbed a consolation goal for the home team. The result means that PSG now has 88 points, while Angers sit in 13th place with a total of 45 points to their name.
With nothing now to play for, it remains to be seen whether PSG will rest some of their stars in the final two games of the season, against Dijon and Reims. Regardless of the side chosen by Thomas Tuchel though, fans will still expect PSG to take maximum points from their final two games.
Lyon Confirm Europa League Place,
It was a good weekend for Lyon, as their 3-0 victory over Marseille confirmed that they’ll definitely be playing in the Europa League next season. They also have a slim chance of pipping Lille to second, although they’d need a massive swing in goal difference to do so. The loss means that Marseille now has no chance of reaching the Europa League though, as they’re now seven points adrift of 4th place.
Maxwel Cornet scored the first goal for Lyon, before Marseille made things tough for themselves as Duje Ćaleta-Car got himself sent off in the 67th minute. Lyon then wrapped the game up in the 84th minute, thanks to a goal from Moussa Dembélé. A third goal came a couple of minutes later when Cornet got himself onto the scoresheet for the second time. The game was actually closer than the scoreline suggests, however, Lyon fans certainly won’t mind, as they scooped all three points on the day.
Monaco Sucked Back into Relegation Battle
It hasn’t been a good season for Monaco. Things got worse over the weekend, as they saw themselves slip to a 1-0 loss against Nimes. This loss means that Monaco are now level on points with 18th placed Caen – finishing in 18th would see them forced into a playoff with a team from the lower division. That would be better than finishing in 19th though – still possible – as this would see them automatically relegated. It would undoubtedly be a huge fall from grace for the team that finished 2nd in the league last year.
The game certainly wasn’t a classic, and the only goal came in the 9th minute when Renaud Ripart headed home a cross from Sada Thioub. Paul Bernadoni then played superbly in between the sticks to protect Nimes’ lead, and Monaco wasn’t able to find a way back into the game. Monaco next plays Amiens, knowing that a win is vital in their fight for survival.
Montpellier Keep Europa League Aspirations Alive
The battle for 4th place – and the final Europa League spot – is still alive. 4th placed St-Étienne took on 5th placed Montpellier over the weekend, knowing that a win would knock Montpellier out of the race. It was Montpellier who came out on top though, bringing themselves to just four points away from St-Étienne. It will take a big effort, as well as results going their way, for Montpellier to finish in 4th, however, fans will still be hopeful that it can happen.
The game saw more red cards than goals, as Montpellier managed a 1-0 victory. The only goal was scored by Gaëtan Laborde, who drilled a low shot past Stéphane Ruffier in the 64th minute. This only came after both teams saw a player getting a red card – Montpellier’s Daniel Congré was given his marching orders in the 53th minute after a VAR review, before St-Étienne’s Rémy Cabella was sent off in the 62nd minute for a second bookable offence.
Elsewhere in Ligue 1…
Lille made it almost sure that they’ll finish with a Champions League place as they defeated Bordeaux 1-0 on Sunday. The only goal of the match was scored by Loïc Rémy in the 27th minute. Bordeaux finished the game with 10 players, as Pablo was sent off in the 88th minute. One point in their next two games will be enough to guarantee Lille a place in next season’s Champion’s League.
The highest scoring match of the weekend saw Caen claim a 3-2 victory over Stade Reims. The result is a massive boost for Caen, who are now level on points with 17th placed Monaco, giving their fans hope that they could still be in Ligue 1 next season. Ninga, Fajr and Guilbert scored for Caen, while Stade Reims’ goals came from Doumbia and Zeneli.
Bottom-placed Guingamp managed to get the point for themselves as they drew 1-1 with Rennes away from home. Ismaïla Sarr scored the opening goal of the game for Rennes. However, Alexandre Mendy grabbed the equaliser for Guingamp in the 87th minute. The result means nothing though, as Guingamp are already guaranteed to be relegated, while Rennes will finish somewhere mid-table.
It was a big weekend for Dijon, as their 2-1 victory at home to Strasbourg gave them a chance of escaping the relegation zone. They’re currently in 19th. However, they’re only two points away from safety. Their victory over the weekend came courtesy of goals from Júlio Tavares and Kwon Chang-hoon. Ludovic Ajorque got the only goal for the visiting Strasbourg, who now sit in 11th place.
It was also a great weekend for another team near the bottom of the league – Amiens. They managed a 0-0 draw with Toulouse, giving them one more point as they look to pull clear of the relegation zone. They’re now two points away from 18th place and next weekend’s match against 17th placed Monaco is a crucial one. The result took Toulouse to 38 points and saw them remain in 15th place. They could still be relegated; however, it’s very unlikely to happen.
Finally, there was an inconsequential draw between Nice and Nantes, who drew 1-1. The goals came from Samuel Moutoussamy and Malang Sarr. This match really didn’t mean anything for either team, as neither are competing for European places or avoiding relegation. Nice are currently in 7th place, while Nantes now occupy 10th place.