Lens delays PSG crowning, Brest retained, Strasbourg not yet… What to remember about Sunday’s games
By winning in Lorient (3-1), the Sang et Or prevents the Parisians from validating the title of champion of France this Sunday, in Auxerre.
After the splendid victory of Lyon against Monaco Friday (3-1), and After Lille’s capital success against Olympique de Marseille (2-1) on Saturday, Stade Rennes had no room for error in Ajaccio on Sunday 21 May to stay in the race for Europe. At lunchtime, Bruno Génésio’s men defeated the Corsican club (5-0). The 36th day of Ligue 1 has ended continued in the afternoon, with four matches scheduled.
The Stade brestois validated its retention thanks to the victory against Clermont (2-1), while Strasbourg came close by winning a draw in Troyes (1-1). Nice and Reims also settled for parity, facing Toulouse (0-0) and Angers (2-2) respectively. Finally, RC Lens accomplished their mission by aiming for three points in Lorient at the end of the afternoon (3-1).
The right operation: OM target distance
Victory was crucial for Lens as Sang et Or could take a 5-point lead over Olympique du Marseille on Sunday, thus strengthening their 2nd place. Taking the lead after six minutes of play, the disoriented Sang et Or found their way back to goal thanks to Florian Sotoca, delighted to see his deflected shot mislead Swiss goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo.
Scorer for the first time since 2 October 2022 against Lyon (1-1), the 32-year-old striker has he ended a run of 26 games without scoring, the longest drought of his Ligue 1 career. Subsequently, Adrien Thomasson and Seko Fofana boosted the score, giving Lens a capital victory.
By moving away from Marseille, Lens have also moved closer to PSG. Coming back within three points, the RCL prevents the club from the capital from celebrating their second consecutive French champion title tonight, even in the event of success in Auxerre (20:45).
Sang et Or still have a small glimmer of hope of winning their first scudetto since 1998 but, more importantly, they have the chance to qualify directly for the Champions League next weekend (if they avoid defeat against Ajaccio and Marseille don’t win against Brest at the same time).
Relief: mission accomplished for Brest
At the end of the very average first forty minutes, everything fell into place just before half-time for Stade Brestois. After the advantage of Clermontois Neto Borges (43rd), the Bretons leave no doubts, Franck Honorat equalized from the kick-off (45th). Galvanized, Éric Roy’s side regained the lead as soon as they returned from the dressing rooms thanks to Steve Mounié’s sixth Ligue 1 success this season (48th).
With a 7-point lead over the red zone with two matchdays to go, Stade Brestois ensured their place in the elite. FC Nantes, defeated by Montpellier on Saturday (0-3), remain first relegated with 33 points, just behind Auxerre (34 points), who receive Paris Saint-Germain, at 21:00.
The revelation: the Habib Diarra nugget points the way to Strasbourg
At the Racing Club de Strasbourg, the Habibs make it rain and shine. When it’s not Diallo, who scored 20 goals this season in Ligue 1 (5 in the last four days), it’s the French midfielder, Habib Diarra, who causes a sensation among the Alsatian fans. A pure product of the Strasbourg line-up, the 19-year-old scored a sensational goal in Troyes before seeing his side bounce back in the final quarter of the game.
Starting from his own field with the ball at his feet, Habib Diarra took advantage of the laxity of the Trojan rearguard to break through midfield, before sending in a light shot 30m from the opposition goal.
Installed to the right of the binding Strasbourg, the training midfielder is the second most decisive RCSA player in 2023 (3 goals, 2 assists), behind Habib Diallo (13 goals, 2 assists). To ensure definitely his retention, Strasbourg must at least get a point in the last two matchdays against PSG or Lorient.
Confirmation: once again decisive, Amine Gouiri keeps Rennes in the running for Europe
If he showed up again “a bit cyclical, with very good periods and less good periods”, as Bruno Génésio underlined at a press conference a few weeks earlier, Amine Gouiri is experiencing the most prolific season of his career (14 goals in L1). Scoring his first Ligue 1 hat-trick on Sunday in Ajaccio, the Olympique Lyonnais-trained striker allowed Stade Rennes to stay in the fight for fifth place, synonymous with qualification for the Europa League conference, currently occupied by Losc.
Purchased from OGC Nice right at the end of the 2022 summer transfer market, the promising 23-year-old Frenchman arrived in Brittany with the onerous task of making people forget Gaëtan Laborde, who took him in the opposite direction to the Riviera club. Despite an AC season, Amine Gouiri played his role by being decisive, in the game and in the final.