Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Week 38 Review

Publish on 25/05/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


Dijon are still alive following a dramatic final round of matches but there was heartbreak for Caen, who will join Guingamp in Domino's Ligue 2 next season.

Dijon must now come through a two-legged play-off against coach Antoine Kombouaré's former club Lens in order to retain their Ligue 1 Conforama status. That they even have such an opportunity is quite something given the Burgundy club started Week 38 as favourites to go down.

Tavares and Sliti heroics

Dijon needed to win at home to Toulouse and hope Caen fell at home to Bordeaux, a club that had lost six consecutive top division matches. When Dijon fell behind to a deflected Bafodé Diakité strike (34') the writing looked on the wall. But an inspired half-time change by Kombouaré, bringing on Naim Sliti for Romain Amalfitano, helped turn the game in Dijon's favour. Sliti equalised (58') through the Tunisian international and then the talismanic Julio Tavares popped up with the winner (63') with VAR ruling the giant Cape Verde forward wasn't offside. Unfortunately for Dijon the club's record scorer in the top division is very doubtful for the play-offs with a knee injury.

Meanwhile, over in Normandy Bordeaux were doing Caen a massive favour as former Dijon man Younousse Sankharé netted the only goal of the game. Caen had revived under the coaching tandem of Fabian Mercedal and Rolland Courbis, collecting 10 points from 12 prior to falling to Olympique Lyonnais in Week 37, but ultimately came up short.

Kombouaré said: "I'm not going to talk about a miracle. We have squeezed into the play-offs but we did put in the match we wanted to. I would like to congratulate my players and thank them for the emotions this evening. That's why we love football. I hope we'll have the same emotions multiplied by 100 on Sunday June 2 after the return leg against Lens as that will mean we are still in Ligue 1."

Courbis: "I'm obviously disappointed"

Courbis' firefighting mission ended in failure as his February appointment didn't prove enough as Caen were relegated after five Ligue 1 Conforama seasons. Courbis said: "I came here to help Caen stay up and I'm obviously disappointed. It's a pity as I would have liked us to have played in the play-offs. I want to rest now as it has been very difficult. It's not out of the question that I'll stay but this evening I won't be capable of making the right decision, one way or the other."

Amiens and Monaco still had work to do on the last day. Amiens kicked off only two points clear of Caen but eased any potential nerves by beating already-relegated Guingamp 2-1. Sehrou Guirassy and Saman Ghoddos got the goals. Moanco had all but secured their status by beating Amiens 2-0 in Week 37 but there was still a risk they could finish 18th. That depended on Amiens winning, Caen winning big and Monaco falling heavily at Nice. Monaco fell 2-0 in the derby to a Benoît Badiashile own goal and a Mickaël Le Bihan penalty and the Principality club need to resolve many issues this summer.

Marseille beat Montpellier 1-0 thanks to Florian Thauvin's 16th Ligue 1 Conforama goal of the season in Rudi Garcia's last game as OM coach. The three points ensured OM leapfrogged Montpellier and into fifth. Bruno Genesio's final game as OL boss resulted in a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory at Nîmes, while Jean-Louis Gasset signed off at Saint-Etienne with a 1-1 draw at Angers.

Mbappé ends on 33 goals

Champions PSG fell 3-1 at Reims although Kylian Mbappé did get on the scoresheet in Champagne country to finish on a league-leading 33 goals for the season. Second-placed LOSC left Nicolas Pépé on the bench and lost 3-1 at Coupe de France winners Rennes, while Coupe de la Ligue winners Strasbourg scored a 1-0 success at Nantes.