Olympique de Marseille have been crowned Ligue 1 champions for the first time since 1992 − and ninth in total − after capitalising on defeat for nearest rivals AJ Auxerre by beating Stade Rennais FC 3-1.
Auxerre started the day five points behind OM with three games remaining but lost 2-1 at fourth-placed Olympique Lyonnais despite taking a 15th-minute lead through Ireneusz Jeleń. Lisandro (45) equalised from the spot and with six minutes left Miralem Pjanić scored the goal which put the champagne on ice in the south of France.
Didier Deschamps' team were not to be denied even though Jimmy Briand (38) silenced Stade Vélodrome when he cancelled out Gabriel Heinze's early opener. Two goals in as many second-half minutes from Mamadou Niang (76) and Lucho confirmed OM's coronation, much to Deschamps' delight.
"In the early part of the game we were inhibited by what was at stake, but it's beautiful to be champions with two games left," he said. "I'm proud of what the players have achieved. I knew it was a tough but exciting challenge when I came [last summer]."
That defeat proved costly in more ways than one for Auxerre as LOSC Lille Métropole replaced the Burgundy club in second thanks to a 2-0 win at Toulouse FC secured by goals from Yohan Cabaye (34) and Ludovic Obraniak (48). FC Girondins de Bordeaux, meanwhile, dropped out of the European reckoning altogether following a 1-1 draw at OGC Nice. Laurent Blanc's team – who have won just one of their last eight in the league – are two points behind fifth-placed Montpellier Hérault SC, 1-0 victors at FC Sochaux-Montbéliard.
Elsewhere, FC Lorient twice came from behind in a 2-2 home draw with AS Monaco FC, and Paris Saint-Germain FC − fresh from their Coupe de France final triumph over the latter − played out the same scoreline with Valenciennes FC.
While Marseille celebrated, there was anguish, however, for Le Mans UC 72 and US Boulogne, who were both relegated. Boulogne lost 1-0 at home to fourth-bottom AS Saint-Etienne and Julien Féret scored twice as AS Nancy-Lorraine came from 2-1 down to beat Le Mans 3-2. Finally, bottom club Grenoble Foot 38 drew 1-1 at RC Lens.
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|Last updated: 02/07/2011 04:31 CET|