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Montpellier win maiden Ligue 1 title

Published: Monday 21 May 2012, 0.15CET
John Utaka scored twice as Montpellier Hérault SC rallied from a goal down against bottom side AJ Auxerre to seal the victory they required to win their first Ligue 1 title.
by Christian Châtelet
from Paris

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Published: Monday 21 May 2012, 0.15CET

Montpellier win maiden Ligue 1 title

John Utaka scored twice as Montpellier Hérault SC rallied from a goal down against bottom side AJ Auxerre to seal the victory they required to win their first Ligue 1 title.

John Utaka scored twice as Montpellier Hérault SC came from behind against bottom side AJ Auxerre in a fraught final match of the season to seal the victory they required to clinch their first Ligue 1 title.

Montpellier arrived in Burgundy with a three-point advantage over their closest challengers Paris Saint-Germain FC, who also came from behind to beat FC Lorient 2-1 to keep their title prospects alive. But the drama intensified at the Stade Abbé-Deschamps as the game was halted for almost 20 minutes with the match hanging in the balance at 1-1, after Utaka had clawed his side level following Olivier Kapo's opener.

With PSG watching the nail-biting events unfold on television having won 2-1 at Lorient thanks to second-half goals by Javier Pastore and Thiago Motta, Montpellier, who have secured ten points this season thanks to added-time strikes, kept their cool as Utaka struck again with what proved to be the title-winning goal on 76 minutes.

Montpellier have become the 19th French club to win Ligue 1 and arguably the most unexpected since the turn of the century, but their achievement is not undeserved given they moved to the top of the French standings with ten games remaining and remained there. Their 50 points from 19 home matches was the key to their deserved maiden title triumph.

"It's fantastic, fabulous," said coach René Girard, who had ensured his side's UEFA Champions League group stage berth after a home win against the defending champions LOSC Lille Métropole last week. PSG will join the champions in next season's group stage, while Lille, in third, must contest the play-offs.

French Cup winners Olympique Lyonnais, who finished fourth despite losing 4-3 to OGC Nice, will play in the UEFA Europa League play-offs, while French League Cup winners Olympique de Marseille made the group stage, despite coming a distant tenth after a last-day loss against FC Sochaux-Montbéliard.

Fifth-placed FC Girondins de Bordeaux, meanwhile, earned a place in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round thanks to a 3-2 win at AS Saint-Étienne, pipping Stade Rennais FC, who routed Dijon FCO 5-0, by a point.

Last updated: 05/12/13 5.06CET

Results

French Ligue 1 2011/12

Matches
HomeAway
Last updated: 21/05/2012 00:32 CET

20/05/2012

LyonLyon3-4NiceNice

Lisandro 21, Briand 26, 69

Monzón 31, Coulibaly 37, Lloris 53 (o.g.), Goncalves 73

Venue: Lyon

20/05/2012

ToulouseToulouse0-2AjaccioAjaccio

Cavalli 20, 31

Venue: Toulouse

20/05/2012

LilleLille4-1NancyNancy

Hazard 10, 27, 34 (P), De Melo 23

Lemaitre 12

Venue: Lille

20/05/2012

AuxerreAuxerre1-2MontpellierMontpellier

Kapo 20

Utaka 32, 78

Venue: Auxerre

20/05/2012

ValenciennesValenciennes3-1CaenCaen

Aboubakar 37, Danic 68 (P), Cohade 87

Nivet 77

Venue: Valenciennes

20/05/2012

LorientLorient1-2PSGPSG

Monnet-Paquet 28

Pastore 61, Thiago Motta 75

Venue: Lorient

20/05/2012

St-EtienneSt-Etienne2-3BordeauxBordeaux

Guilavogui 19, Aubameyang 49

Diabaté 23, 29, Gouffran 68

Venue: St Etienne

20/05/2012

SochauxSochaux1-0MarseilleMarseille

Boudebouz 55

Venue: Montbeliard

20/05/2012

ÉvianÉvian0-1BrestBrest

Jemaa 50

Venue: Annecy

20/05/2012

RennesRennes5-0DijonDijon

Montaño 9, Kembo-Ekoko 47 (P), 58, Pitroipa 51, Hadji 82

Venue: Rennes

Related information

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=fra/news/newsid=1800054.html#montpellier+maiden+ligue+title

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