Romain Hamouma's hat-trick helped Saint-Etienne crush Lille 5-0 but Les Verts came up just short of a European finish.
AS Saint-Etienne 5-0 LOSC
Saint-Etienne, after cruel back-to-back losses to Bordeaux and Monaco, fulfilled their end of the bargain as Christophe Galtier returned to Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with LOSC already safe. ASSE were outstanding but with Bordeaux cantering to success at Metz, the home fans knew it was not going to be enough.
ASSE took the lead in the seventh minute when Hamouma's shot was pushed out to Jonathan Bamba by Mike Maignan. Bamba waited for the ball to come down before slamming a shot in between the goalkeeper's legs for his first league goal since late Janaury.
The second (13') was all about Hamouma. Controlling a long Ole Selnaes pass on his chest, he then lifted the ball over Kouadio-Yves Dabila before volleying in a precise right-footed shot from the edge of the area that left Maignan no chance. Mathieu Debuchy missed when the goal was gaping after being teed up by Bamba (33') before Hamouma netted again (39'), befuddling Edgar Ié before finishing left-footed.
ASSE eased off a bit in the second half yet still added two more goals. A Bamba pass left LOSC exposed and Hamouma calmly completed his hat-trick (62'). Three minutes later sub Oussama Tannane's shot was pushed out by Maignan onto defender Kévin Malcuit - who joined LOSC from ASSE last summer - and the full-back scored an own goal. Nicolas Pepe (90') hit the post but LOSC had been comprehensively outplayed by an ASSE side who enjoyed a lap of honour at a noisy Le Chaudron.
THE PLAYER: Romain Hamouma
Hamouma's first Ligue 1 hat-trick underlined what a good player the attacker can be on his day. The goals were audacious, especially his first, and Hamouma has been involved in six of ASSE's last eight league goals scored against LOSC, netting four of them.
THE STAT: 35
Saint-Etienne took 35 points from 19 games in 2018 and would have qualified for Europe but for losing 3-1 to Bordeaux in Week 36. Rémy Cabella's missed penalty at 2-1 down proved costly.