Updated May 20th, 2024 at 10:14 IST

Brest secures final automatic Champions League spot in French league, PSG wins without Mbappé

Heading into the last round of matches, Lille and Brest were level on points behind already-crowned champion Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, with Lille ahead only by a difference of two goals.

Kylian Mbappe celebrates PSG's French League One title after the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Toulouse at the Parc des Princes stadium | Image: AP
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Brest secured the final automatic berth in next season’s Champions League with a 3-0 win at Toulouse on Sunday that sealed a third-place finish for the surprise package of the French league on a dramatic final day.

Heading into the last round of matches, Lille and Brest were level on points behind already-crowned champion Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, with Lille ahead only by a difference of two goals.

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Lille looked set for a third place finish but blew a 2-1 lead against Nice in added time to draw 2-2, dropping into fourth place.

After the expansion of Europe's top club competition from next season, the French league will have three automatic spots in the tournament rather than two. Brest, whose attack-minded approach developed by coach Eric Roy has been a pleasure for fans to watch this season, will play in Europe for the first time. Its previous best league finish was eighth.

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The club stadium holds 15,000 compared to PSG’s capacity of nearly 49,000 at Parc des Princes, while PSG’s yearly budget of 700 million euros ($763 million) dwarfs Brest’s 48 million euros ($52 million) — among the smallest in the league.

The small club from the Brittany region's trophy cabinet is also small — the club won the second division in 1981.

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Lille captain Benjamin Andre thought he had scored the winner in the 73rd minute with a powerful and precise header from a corner but the hosts could not hold onto their lead as Jordan Lotomba found the net with a header between the legs of Lille goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

Roy has done a remarkable rebuilding job at Brest. The team was in the relegation zone when he was hired midway through last season and finished 14th. Roy had been 12 years without a coaching job, too.

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Mahdi Camara, Jordan Amavi and Kenny Lala scored Brest's goals.

PSG WINS WITHOUT MBAPPE

Already crowned champion for a record-extending 12th time, PSG concluded its campaign with a 2-0 win at Metz that condemned the hosts to a relegation playoff.

Carlos Soler and Lee Kang-in scored PSG's goals.

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PSG finished top of the league with 76 points, nine more than second-place Monaco, which thrashed Nantes 4-0.

PSG was without star striker Kylian Mbappé , who was left out of the Paris Saint-Germain squad for the final French league game of the season amid media reports that he spent the weekend at the Cannes film festival.

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Mbappé is leaving PSG after seven seasons at the French league club. Asked to comment, PSG did not give a reason to explain Mbappé’s absence. Ousmane Dembélé, Vitinha, Marquinhos, Fabian Ruiz and Gianluigi Donnarumma also sat out the trip to Metz. Unless PSG coach Luis Enrique decides to snub him, Mbappé will have a final occasion to play with PSG in the French Cup final on May 25 against Lyon.

LACAZETTE SCORES TWICE

Lyon captain Alexandre Lacazette scored a brace in a 2-1 win over Strasbourg, including one goal deep in added time, to help Lyon finish in sixth place ahead of Lens, which was held 2-2 at home by Montpellier.

Nine-time champion Marseille concluded a mediocre season with a rare victory on the road, a 2-1 win at Le Havre.

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In a contest between two teams that will be demoted to the second-tier of French soccer next season, Lorient demolished last-place Clermont 5-0.

 

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Published May 20th, 2024 at 10:14 IST