By Julien Pretot PARIS (Reuters) -Olympique de Marseille beat Racing Strasbourg 4-0 and pipped AS Monaco to second place in Ligue 1 to qualify for the Champions League group stage with help from RC Lens as the season ended with the news Kylian Mbappe was staying at Paris St Germain. Monaco go into the Champions […]
Soccer-Marseille secure Champions League spot as Mbappe extends PSG stay
By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) -Olympique de Marseille beat Racing Strasbourg 4-0 and pipped AS Monaco to second place in Ligue 1 to qualify for the Champions League group stage with help from RC Lens as the season ended with the news Kylian Mbappe was staying at Paris St Germain.
Monaco go into the Champions League third qualifying round after Ignatius Ganago’s last-gasp goal in a 2-2 draw at Lens denied them runners-up spot in Saturday’s final round of games.
All eyes were on the Parc des Princes for the announcement that Mbappe had signed a new three-year deal with the French champions, who demolished Metz 5-0 with the France forward scoring a hat trick to finish Ligue 1 top scorer with 28 goals.
The result sent Metz into Ligue 2 along with Girondins de Bordeaux, who were relegated after 30 consecutive years in the top flight despite a 4-2 win at Stade Brestois as they ended up bottom of the table.
St Etienne salvaged a 1-1 draw at Nantes to finish 18th and set up a relegation/promotion playoff with AJ Auxerre.
Marseille ended up second with 71 points – 15 behind PSG, who were crowned champions last month, two ahead of Monaco who looked like hanging on to second place until Ganago’s goal six minutes into stoppage time left them deflated.
Benoit Badiashile had cancelled out Przemyslaw Frankowski’s opener for the hosts in the 34th from close range before Wissam Ben Yedder’s second-half goal put Monaco on track for second spot.
But Ganago’s strike from inside the box in the dying seconds denied Monaco the 10th consecutive win they needed.
Marseille prevailed in the race for direct Champions League qualification with a Gerson double and goals by Cengiz Under and Cedric Bakambu but it was Ganago’s goal for Lens that effectively sealed second place for them.
Stade Rennais, who had long been in the running for a Champions League spot, ended up fourth and will play in the Europa League after Serhou Guirassy’s stoppage-time goal salvaged a 2-2 draw at Lille.
In Paris, shortly after announcing together with club president Nasser Al Khelaifi that he was staying until 2025, Mbappe scored an early double before Neymar netted his 100th goal for PSG to put the hosts 3-0 up after 32 minutes.
The 23-year-old Mbappe added another five minutes into the second half after benefiting from some poor defending and Metz were reduced to 10 men when Boubacar Traore picked up a second yellow card just before the hour.
Angel Di Maria, playing his last game for PSG, netted the fifth in the 68th before breaking into tears.
“I would like to thank the President, Nasser Al Khelaifi, for his trust, his understanding and his patience,” said Mbappe.
“I would also like to thank all the fans of Paris Saint-Germain, both in France and around the world, for their support, especially in recent months. Together, side by side and ambitious, we will make magic in Paris.”
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)