Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Week 30 review: PSG two wins away from title

Publish on 01/04/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


Paris Saint-Germain continued their relentless pursuit towards an eighth Ligue 1 Conforama title, SM pulled off the foot of the table, while RC Strasbourg Alsace were busy winning the Coupe de la Ligue.

PSG left it late against Toulouse FC on Sunday night but eventually found a way through in the south of France with Kylian Mbappé volleying home his league-leading 27th goal of the season for a 1-0 win which might also have been impossible if not for a dominant goalkeeping display from Alphonse Areola.

Fitting title decider

Thomas Tuchel's men have a 20-point gap on nearest pursuers LOSC, and will be crowned Ligue 1 Conforama champions for the sixth time in seven seasons if they can beat Les Dogues in two weeks' time, provided they don't first slip up to FC Nantes.

"It's never easy after an international break," said Tuchel. "A lot of our players were called up and there was a bit of fatigue for some, but we were serious and played as a team. There are many reasons to take it easy, especially with the lead we have in the league, bit nobody sees it that way and that's something I like."

Les Dogues find their bite

Not that Lille were too disappointed after a weekend that saw them strengthen their grip on the second automatic UEFA Champions League place. Trailing 2-0 at FC Nantes on Sunday, LOSC battled back to win 3-2 following three goals in seven minutes from Rafael Leao, Nicolas Pépé and Jonathan Bamba.

The northerners have not been at European football's top table since the 2012/13 season, and coach Christophe Galtier wants his young side - with an average age of 24 against Nantes - to keep taking risks.

"It was a crazy game, it must have been a great game for the spectators!" he said. "There were twists and suspense but the most important thing is that we won. At this time, only points are important. We had the wind at our backs. We have to focus the players but without curbing their attacking instincts."

Caen off the bottom

At the other end of the table, Caen lifted themselves clear of the automatic relegation places for the first time since January with a 1-0 win over an AS Monaco side who had hitherto been resurgent in Leonardo Jardim's second spell in the Stade Louis II dugout.

"We came here to get a result, we never even thought about losing," was Caen coach Fabien Mercadal's defiant reaction to his side's first three-point haul since December. "I hope it will revive us for the last eight games. When playing for survival it's important to have a great goalkeeper and [Brice Samba] is a top Ligue 1 goalkeeper."

Strasbourg back with a bang

EA Guingamp are now a point worse off than Caen, although the Bretons do have a game in hand having been involved in Saturday's Coupe de la Ligue final, in which they were ultimately edged on penalties by Strasbourg.

Bingourou Kamara - second choice to Matz Sels in the league this season - put in a fine display at Lille's Stade Pierre-Mauroy, saving a penalty in the shoot-out after the game had ended goalless following 120 minutes of football.

"There was a bit of pressure on my young players but we won the trophy, not bad!" said Le Racing coach Thierry Laurey. "We played with four 21-year-old kids who made their families proud. I'm very happy for Bingourou Kamara and he played a big part in our victory. Eight years ago, I was unemployed. Now the adventure must continue. Strasbourg are back on the map."

Lyon the best of the rest

Elsewhere, Olympique Lyonnais did just enough cement their claim on third, second-half substitute Martin Terrier finding the winner against Stade Rennais FC four minutes from time. Les Gones are eight points clear of fourth-place Olympiqe de Marseille, who were 2-0 up against Angers SCO following a Mario Balotelli brace only to draw 2-2.

"We made a good start and deserved to win in the end," said OL coach Bruno Génésio. "I want the team to progress. What happens to me is secondary." OM coach Rudi Garcia was similarly philosophical. "As long as it's mathematically possible, we'll still believe we can qualify for the Champions League," he said.

OGC Nice edged ten-man Dijon FCO, meanwhile, with Pierre Lees-Melou slotting home the only goal minutes after Frédéric Sammaritano had been sent off for the hosts. Dijon replace Cane at the bottom of the table.

Amiens SC and Girondins de Bordeaux played out a 0-0 draw at the Stade de la Licorne, while AS Saint-Etienne and Nîmes Olympique will play their rescheduled match on Monday night, the former having a chance to leapfrog Marseille with a victory.