French Ligue One Roundup, May 29

BY foxsports • May 29, 2011

Seven-time French champion Lyon booked a place in Champions League qualifying Sunday by beating Monaco 2-0 on the last day of the French league season with goals from Pape Diakhate and Lisandro Lopez.

Lyon's win also sent 18th-place Monaco into the second division for the first time since 1976. Lens and last-place Arles were already demoted.

Third-place Lyon ended the championship with 64 points from 38 rounds, four more than Paris Saint-Germain, and will play the Champions League for the 13th straight year.

Lille, which secured its first title since 1954 last weekend, celebrated in front of its home fans with a 3-2 win over Rennes courtesy of a hat-trick from the league's top scorer Moussa Sow.

Second-place Marseille was held to a 2-2 draw at Caen.

Monaco, which reached the Champions League final in 2004, was among seven teams still fighting to avoid relegation and needed a win to stay in the topflight.

''It's hard, it's a clap of thunder,'' midfielder Gregory Lacombe said after Monaco's 2000th match in the first division. ''We knew we needed a win tonight and we conceded two goals. It was like a final, and we lost it.''

Laurent Banide's team got off to a good start and dominated possession but created only half-chances. Lyon played cautiously during the first half and didn't have a single shot on target before the interval.

France and Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris then made a superb fingertip save to keep out a curling left-footed strike from midfielder Chris Malonga in the 53rd minute.

Diakhate finally opened the scoring from a rebound in the 67th minute after goalkeeper Sebastien Chabbert blocked a first attempt from Maxime Gonalons. Lopez gave his team more room to breathe seven minutes from the end with a powerful right-footed shot.

''We had a complicated season, with ups and downs,'' said Lloris. ''It was tough until the end and we are very tired. We reached our minimum goal. This is not a great joy, but a great relief.''

Lloris then refused to confirm that he would still be playing for Lyon next season. Lyon coach Claude Puel is also expected to leave the club after coming under increasing pressure this season, with many fans calling for his resignation.

Lyon hasn't won any silverware since Puel took over from Alain Perrin, who led Lyon to the league and French Cup double in 2007-08.

PSG needed a win at Saint-Etienne to keep some hope of playing the Champions League but Antoine Lombouare's team was held to a 1-1 draw at Geoffroy-Guichard and will have to be content with Europa League participation.

Sow scored a hat-trick to extend his goal tally to 25 before Lille's players were presented with the league trophy and celebrated the club's first league-cup double in 65 years.

''It's beautiful, I didn't expect this, I'm so happy,'' Sow said.

Defending champion Marseille held possession in the early stages at Caen but was caught off guard following a swift counterattack when Yohan Mollo found himself unmarked in the box and slotted home with a precise shot in the 7th minute.

Marseille was made to pay for another lapse of concentration just before halftime after Benjamin Nivet found M'Baye Niang in the back of the defense as the promising forward scored his third league goal this season.

But Loic Remy put Didier Deschamps' team back on track by scoring a brace in the last half-hour.

Auxerre made sure it will stay in the first division next season with a 2-1 win at Lorient.

Kevin Gameiro connected with a superb pass from Morgan Amalfitano and chipped the ball over goalkeeper Olivier Sorin to put Lorient ahead in the 20th minute.

But Auxerre leveled five minutes later after Frederic Sammaritano crossed the ball in the box and saw defender Bruno Ecuele Manga beat his own keeper as he deflected the ball into the net.

Auxerre then pulled ahead in the 49th minute when Valter Birsa scored from the rebound after goalkeeper Lionel Cappone failed to block Sammaritano's shot.

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