Week 34 Review: Prolific weekend for title rivals
By A. Scott
Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain both enjoyed big wins to remain neck and neck at the Ligue 1 summit after a remarkable weekend featuring 37 goals.
Reigning champions PSG bounced back from their Champions League quarter-final exit to Barcelona by destroying LOSC Lille 6-1 at the Parc des Princes. Maxwell gave Paris the lead after just 25 seconds before Edinson Cavani added a brace and Ezequiel Lavezzi scored a hat-trick. Marko Baša got a consolation for the visitors, who had Sébastien Corchia sent off in the second half as they slumped to a biggest top-flight defeat in 30 years.
For Laurent Blanc's side, it was a biggest Ligue 1 win in three years and it kept them on track to retain the title and win an unprecedented domestic clean sweep. They are second behind leaders Lyon on goal difference after OL romped to a 4-2 victory at Stade de Reims but have a game in hand to come at home to struggling Metz on Tuesday.
"We have lots of respect for the teams who await us but we must be determined, we have our destiny in our hands," said Blanc, whose team have nevertheless been unable to shake off the attentions of Hubert Fournier's exciting Lyon side.
Lacazette scores again
Fournier returned to the Stade Auguste-Delaune to face Reims, the club he brought back up to the top flight after more than three decades away and then kept them there before leaving last summer. It was a happy evening for him, with Corentin Tolisso, a 26th goal of the season for Alexandre Lacazette, Clinton Njie and a Mickaël Tacalfred own-goal at the death helping OL see off Reims, for whom Alexi Peuget and Gaëtan Charbonnier were on target.
"Let's not lie; this was not our best match of the season," tempered Fournier. "But we got the three points. At this stage of the season that is important. We are almost certain to finish on the podium now, but right now the podium is not our objective. I will not be supporting FC Metz on Tuesday but I will be watching closely."
Monaco hold third, OM in crisis
Monaco are six points back in third place after they got back on track following their Champions League quarter-final exit to Juventus with a comfortable 3-0 win away to Lens. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Bernardo Silva scored either side of a seventh goal in eight Ligue 1 games for Anthony Martial. The principality club have lost just once, and conceded only five goals, in 19 league outings and sit two points clear of fourth-placed Saint-Etienne in the race for Champions League qualification.
Les Verts beat Montpellier 1-0 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with Max-Alain Gradel scoring his eighth goal in eight league games as Christophe Galtier's side leapfrogged Olympique de Marseille in the standings. OM crumbled to a fourth consecutive defeat in remarkable fashion, losing 5-3 to Lorient at the Stade Vélodrome as Jordan Ayew scored twice for the Bretons against his old side. François Bellugou, Romain Philippoteaux and Mathias Autret were also on target for Sylvain Ripoll's team, while André Ayew, Jérémy Morel and Michy Batshuayi netted for Marseille, who coach Marcelo Bielsa later admitted are in crisis.
"This is a very complicated moment for the team, at the most important point of the season. Of course we are in crisis," said the Argentine.
Tight at the bottom
Bordeaux suffered a setback in their push for Europe as they needed a late Wahbi Khazri free-kick to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Metz, for whom Ferjani Sassi had opened the scoring.
At the bottom, Lens are now all but down, lying 12 points from safety with four games left. Metz remain in an extremely precarious position despite going four games unbeaten, while Evian-Thonon-Gaillard FC are in the bottom three, one point from safety, after losing 2-1 at home to SC Bastia. Gilles Sunu put Evian ahead in Annecy but François Kamano scored a second-half brace for the Corsicans.
It is very tight at the foot with Caen still in danger after losing 2-0 at home to Guingamp as Claudio Beauvue and Sylvain Marveaux scored in the second half in Normandy. Even Nice in 12th are only four points from the relegation zone following a 2-1 defeat at Rennes. Éric Bauthéac put Nice ahead only for Sanjin Prcic to equalise before Anders Konradsen scored a last-minute winner. Nantes now look to be safe though after Alejandro Bedoya cancelled out Adrien Regattin's opener in a 1-1 draw at Toulouse.