FOOTBALL – Goals, tears and turnarounds. As so often in recent years, and despite the title already secured for a long time by Paris Saint-Germain, the 38th and last day of Ligue 1 was totally crazy this Saturday, May 21.
Undoubtedly galvanized by the many challenges (qualification for the Champions League and for the other European cups, maintaining play…) and freed from daily pressure, the teams of the French championship put on a memorable show, with 37 goals scored in the ten matches played simultaneously. The HuffPost summarizes all the lessons of this evening.
Mbappé celebrates his extension with a record
It was THE big football news of the evening (and maybe even of the season): this Saturday, as a preamble to the Parisians’ last match this season, Kylian Mbappé announced that he was staying three more years at PSG. A contract extension whose financial details have not yet filtered, but which was celebrated brilliantly by the 23-year-old striker.
With a hat-trick scored during the match between Paris and Metz, the 2018 world champion effectively secured his fourth consecutive top scorer title (with 28 goals). Above all, with 17 assists distributed this season, he becomes the first man to combine the titles of top scorer and passer in the same season. Simply masterful.
Note that the big Parisian victory (5-0) also allowed Neymar to score his hundredth goal in the PSG jersey, which he has worn since the summer of 2017. The Brazilian joined in History Cavani, Mbappé, Ibrahimovic, Pauleta and Rocheteau, the other men to have reached such a mark.
Finally, for his 295th and last match with Paris, the Argentinian Angel Di Maria came out in tears after also scoring a goal, his 92nd with Paris Saint-Germain (for 111 assists). It was well worth a guard of honor.
The crazy Monegasque series ends, OM take advantage of it
Behind the Parisians, it was their great rival who pulled off the best operation of the evening. By winning (4-0) at home against Strasbourg, Olympique de Marseille effectively put pressure on Monaco, the team that was competing for second place, qualifying directly for the Champions League.
And they did well, since after nine consecutive victories in Ligue 1, the Monegasques experienced a terrible end to the season. Long in the lead (2-1) on the lawn of Lens, a score that would have secured them second place, the ASM players conceded the goal of equalization at the last minute of the season (90 + 6) , synonymous with third place and therefore a double play-off to be played in order to hope to reach the group stage of the Champions League. A heartbreak.
Disappointment for Strasbourg, Nice in extremi
And it is far from being the only turnaround of the evening. In fourth place in the standings, we find this Saturday evening the Rennais. Players who snatched this position thanks to a goal scored in the 90+3rd minute, on a header from Serhou Guirassy at the end of additional time, when Lille had led a good part of the match and regained the advantage at the 88th (final score 2-2). Enough to go to the Europa League next year.
Same kind of scenario on the side of Reims, which quickly led (2-0) against OGC Nice. Except that a hat-trick from Nice striker Andy Delort allowed the players in red and black to completely reverse the situation and grab a fifth place in the standings, synonymous with qualification for the Europa League Conference, the third European cup. inaugurated this season. A relief after losing the French Cup final against Nantes, which also offered a European place.
Metz and Bordeaux relegated, a joker for Saint-Étienne
The last battle finally concerned the maintenance. In this little game, Bordeaux, 20th and worst defense of the century in Ligue 1 had only a tiny chance of remaining, and it was not a victory (4-2) on the lawn of Brest that made it possible to avoid relegation, much to the chagrin of supporters of a historic club. Bordelais who will be accompanied in Ligue 2 by Metz, very heavily defeated by PSG.
Because at the same time, AS Saint-Étienne managed to take – quite miraculously, it must be admitted – a point in Nantes (1-1) which means that the Stéphanois will be entitled to a joker. On May 26 and 29, they will play a round-trip match against AJ Auxerre, third in Ligue 2, to find out who will complete the Ligue 1 field next season (knowing that Toulouse and AC Ajaccio are promoted). Breathtaking.
See also on the HuffPost: These Ligue 1 commentators try their hand at the “skylight of Évry”