Week 36 Review: Nearly there for Monaco
Monaco are closing in on the Ligue 1 title, while Paris Saint-Germain are guaranteed to finish in the top two following Nice falling at Olympique de Marseille on Sunday evening.
The antepenultimate round of matches was dramatic, in keeping with a pulsating Ligue 1 campaign. PSG briefly moved level on points with Monaco on Saturday afternoon as they thrashed bottom club Bastia 5-0 at the Parc des Princes. Edinson Cavani scored two of them and had a penalty saved by Jean-Louis Leca as the champions bounced back from defeat at Nice in Week 35.
Monaco responded in kind with a 3-0 success at second-bottom Nancy. Thomas Lemar starred with a goal and an assist. Kylian Mbappé was rested to the bench ahead of the return leg of the Champions League semi-final against Juventus, though still managed to set up Lemar's goal in his eight minutes on the pitch.
Monaco are three points clear of PSG and have a game in hand. Such is their goal difference advantage over PSG that should they win at home to LOSC next Sunday then they will effectively - if not quite mathematically - be champions for the first time since the year 2000, even if PSG are victorious at Saint-Etienne.
Monaco: Three points clear, one game in hand
Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said: "We're very happy with the three points that have moved us a bit closer to our objective. Nothing has been decided yet and it's not over. We need to keep this attitude and carry it over into the three league games we have left. This was a big result for us, on a synthetic pitch three days after playing in the Champions League."
Nice finish third
Nice's feint hopes of pipping PSG to second were extinguished when they lost at the Orange Vélodrome, going down 2-1 and losing for only the third time all season. Patrice Evra's winner - his first OM goal - came after Mario Balotelli had cancelled out Bafétimbi Gomis' opener and the result lifted Rudi Garcia's side to fifth, setting up what he called a "final" for fifth place and Europa League football at Bordeaux next week.
Les Girondins were held 2-2 at Saint-Etienne on Friday evening. Bordeaux led twice through Adam Ounas and Gaëtan Laborde, only to be pegged back by Robert Beric and Vincent Pajot strikes.
Lyon are well on course to finish fourth, though they made life hard for themselves before defeating Nantes 3-2 at Parc OL. Maxwel Cornet scored the winner ten minutes from time, the substitute netting for the second time in the game to lift morale ahead of the attempting to overturn a 4-1 first-leg deficit in their Europa League semi-final with Ajax.
Metz, Angers safe
There was joy for Metz and Angers as both clubs ensured another year of Ligue 1 football. Metz were 2-0 victors at Lille, while a point was enough for Coupe de France finalists Angers at Lorient.
Lorient are involved in a relegation six-pointer against Bastia in Week 37. Dijon were outclassed 4-0 at Guingamp to slide into the bottom three, replacing Caen who scored an invaluable 1-0 success at Toulouse. Rennes beat Montpellier 1-0 in a forgettable game in Brittany.