Guingamp relegated to French second division
PARIS (AP) — Loic Remy scored a superb volley in a 1-0 win over Bordeaux in the French league on Sunday to help Lille cement its grip on second place and direct qualification for next season’s Champions League.
Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain has already sealed its sixth league crown in seven seasons.
Lille, which played its last game in Europe’s top club competition six years ago, kept its lead over third-place Lyon to six points after Lyon won 3-0 at Marseille. With only two rounds of matches left, Lille also has a far better goal difference over its southern rival.
The team that finishes third should start the Champions League tournament in the qualifying rounds. However, the third-place team will go direct into the group stage if Chelsea, which already qualified, wins the Europa League final against Arsenal.
In a cagey first half, the 32-year-old Remy volleyed home from Jonathan Ikone’s free kick in the 27th minute. Ikone looked like he would take a direct free kick but instead chipped the ball over the Bordeaux wall for Remy to fire it past goalkeeper Benoit Costil for his sixth goal this season — and his third in as many games.
MARSEILLE MISSES OUT
Mocking their team’s mediocre results and the “Champions League Project” devised by American owner Frank McCourt to take the club back to the summit of French soccer, Marseille fans displayed a series of ironic banners before the match.
The loss at the Velodrome Stadium left Marseille seven points behind fourth-place Saint-Etienne, meaning the 1993 European Champions have missed out on a European spot.
Marseille players were whistled off the pitch after Maxwell Cornet’s brace and a goal from Moussa Dembele ensured Lyon’s 950th Ligue 1 win.
A turning point came in the 67th minute with the hosts trailing 1-0 when Marseille defender Duje Caleta-Car was sent off for a foul on Martin Terrier. With Luiz Gustavo repositioned in defense and Lucas Ocampos replaced by Valere Germain, Marseille lost its balance as Lyon took control of the game and was rewarded with two late goals.
Last-place Guingamp was relegated to the second division following a 1-1 draw at Brittany rival Rennes that sealed its fate on Sunday.
Guingamp trails 18th-place Caen by seven points and now can’t erase the deficit. The last two teams are relegated and a playoff between the club that finishes 18th and the team finishing third in the second division is held at the end of the season.
Guingamp, which last played in the second division during the 2012-13 season, has managed just five wins this term.
“It’s disappointing not to carry on in the L1,” Guingamp coach Jocelyn Gourvennec said. “Six years, it’s a long time, we got used to it. We need to quickly bounce back.”