Ligue 1

Montpellier claims first Ligue 1 title

Highlights: Auxerre vs. Montpellier
Highlights: Auxerre vs. Montpellier
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Sunday, May 20
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Montpellier won the French title for the first time after winning 2-1 at Auxerre on Sunday in a chaotic match which saw the players twice leave the field after crowd disturbances.

A brace by John Utaka was sufficient to hand the Mediterranean club the crown ahead of big-spending Paris St Germain, whose 2-1 win at Lorient was rendered academic.

Montpellier began the day three points clear of PSG at the summit, but they were made to sweat - first going behind to their relegated opponents and then being forced to wait as the disaffected local supporters launched tennis balls, tomatoes and toilet paper on to the pitch.

Order was quickly restored, but around 20 minutes from full-time the action was halted again for several minutes after fans reportedly released smoke bombs.

When play was finally able to get under way once again, Montpellier took the lead for good in the 76th minute when Utaka turned in the area and fired home to spark scenes of jubilation among the travelling faithful.

Montpellier almost started with a goal inside five minutes, but Stephane Grichting made a vital saving tackle to rob Remy Cabella.

Utaka thought he had earned a penalty with a quarter of an hour gone, but the referee took no issue with Willy Boly's challenge.

Cabella shot directly at Olivier Sorin when he had a gilt-edged chance two minutes later and the visitors' profligacy cost them when Kapo opened the scoring at the other end.

Roy Contout's corner provided the assist and Kapo beat Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to the ball to head past Geoffrey Jourdren.

Montpellier were in arrears for just 12 minutes before Souleymane Camara's powerful cross made its way to the back post where Utaka was on hand with a simple finish.

With 51 minutes gone the first suspension occurred as the Auxerre fans launched their missiles on to the playing surface, causing a lengthy delay.


Click here to see pictures from the final round of matches in Ligue 1.


When play restarted Montpellier almost forced an own-goal from Boly, who was under pressure from Giroud.

Sorin was doing his bit to keep Auxerre in it too, with successive saves from Cabella and Giroud keeping the drama high.

A second delay then took place, with police involved and apparently attempting to evacuate one of the stands.

While the stoppage cannot have helped Montpellier's nerves they still found their way through for a winning goal, Giroud drawing a corner from Sorin and Utaka scoring in the aftermath of the set-piece.

This time the forward collected the ball, turned Grichting and fired home the winning goal.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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