Cédric Hengbart hit a dramatic late goal as AJ Auxerre won 2-1 at FC Sochaux-Montbéliard to snatch France's final UEFA Champions League qualifying berth away from beaten LOSC Lille Métropole on the last day of Ligue 1 action, with Olympique Lyonnais through to the group stage as runners-up.
Auxerre had begun the day in fourth and heading for the UEFA Europa League play-offs and that is exactly where they looked set to finish with moments to go at the Stade Auguste Bonal. Hengbart had put the visitors ahead after turning in a Benoît Pedretti free-kick on five minutes, but they were pegged back by Ideye Aide Brown's leveller seconds after the break. The match turned in Auxerre's favour once again when Damien Perquis received his second yellow card (61), yet it took until the final minute for them to profit, Hengbart nodding in a Maxime Bourgeois cross.
His strike lifted Auxerre up to third and into next season's UEFA Champions League play-offs, with Lille dropping from second to fourth. The northerners seemed to have done the difficult part away against FC Lorient when they took the lead through Ricardo Costa in the 32nd minute. However, they conceded to Kevin Gameiro moments later and were undone when substitute Yann Jouffre registered with 25 minutes left.
As for Lyon, they defeated relegated Le Mans UC 72 2-0 and finish six points behind champions Olympique de Marseille, who signed off with a 2-0 success against bottom club Grenoble Foot 38, Ligue 1 top scorer Mamadou Niang taking his tally to 18 in the process. Montpellier Hérault SC came in fifth and can look forward to the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round courtesy of their 3-1 triumph at French Cup winners Paris Saint-Germain FC. Deposed champions FC Girondins de Bordeaux slipped to a 4-3 loss at RC Lens.
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|Last updated: 02/07/2011 04:16 CET|
|Venue: St Etienne|