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France round-up: Lyon clinch first championship

Published: Sunday 5 May 2002, 0.59CET
Olympique Lyonnais snatched their first French league title out of the hands of RC Lens.

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Published: Sunday 5 May 2002, 0.59CET

France round-up: Lyon clinch first championship

Olympique Lyonnais snatched their first French league title out of the hands of RC Lens.
Olympique Lyonnais snatched their first Le Championnat title out of the hands of RC Lens in a thrilling climax to the season.

Famous victory
Goals from Sidney Govou, Philippe Violeau and Pierre Laigle sealed a famous 3-1 victory for Lyon over Lens at the Gerland stadium. Lens went into the game with a one-point lead and knew a draw would be enough for their second title in four years. However, Lyon were always in control and leapfrogged their rivals at the death. They finished the season on 66 points, two more than their opponents.

Cruise control
Govou opened the scoring in the seventh minute with a fierce low drive into the corner and Lyon dominated from that point onwards. Violeau's volley made it two seven minutes later and the home team were cruising.

Nerves eased
However, Polish international Jacek Bak reduced the deficit in the 26th minute to give the visitors hope. But Laigle eased any nerves among the home fans with a deflected effort in the 53rd minute and Lyon never looked back.

Auxerre take third
There was more drama elsewhere as AJ Auxerre hung on to third spot and a place in next season's UEFA Champions League. They went down 3-2 at home to Stade Rennais FC, despite two more goals for the prolific Djibril Cissé. They could only have been caught by Paris Saint-Germain FC, but the capital club lost 1-0 at Lille OSC to end up a point behind Auxerre in fourth. Lille's win earned them a UEFA Cup place.

Guingamp survive
At the foot of the table, FC Lorient, double cup finalists this term, had a 1-1 draw at FC Metz but both teams were relegated. A victory might have been enough for one to survive but En Avant Guingamp's 1-0 victory at ES Troyes Aube Champagne lifted them out of the mire and saw Metz demoted. Guingamp's hero was Stéphane Carnot.

Savinaud double
Elsewhere, Montpellier Hérault SC lost 1-0 at Olympique de Marseille and FC Girondins de Bordeaux went down 2-1 at FC Nantes Atlantique. Nantes, the outgoing champions, won with goals in the first and last minutes by Nicolas Savinaud. A minute before Savinaud's second, Pauleta hit yet another goal for Bordeaux to finish joint-top scorer with Cissé.

Final results
Finally, SC Bastia eased past CS Sedan-Ardennes 2-0 and FC Sochaux-Montbéliard were 3-0 winners at home to AS Monaco.

Last updated: 05/05/02 22.10CET

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