Yilmaz
Opinion

The 5 matches of the season

Publish on 24/05/2021 at 10:06 - D. CROSSAN

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A remarkable Ligue 1 Uber Eats season produced some marvellously entertaining and dramatic matches. We pick out five of the best…

ROUND 11: MONACO 3-2 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Champions Paris Saint-Germain had won eight league matches in a row before heading to the Principality and Thomas Tuchel's men appeared to have their title defence back on course following their defeats to Lens and Olympique de Marseille to kick off the season. Things looked even rosier for PSG when former Monaco star Kylian Mbappé fired them into a two-goal half-time lead at Stade Louis II (25' and 37' pen.).

Niko Kovac's Monaco came up with an outrstanding second-half comeback as Kevin Volland followed up his double from earlier in November against Bordeaux with two more vital strikes (52' and 65'). Former Monaco defender Abdou Diallo receved a second yellow card for fouling Volland in the box and substitute Cesc Fabregas kept his nerve from the spot to complete the turnaround.

ROUND 34: LYON 2-3 LILLE

Eventual champions Lille showed their quality and willpower in recovering from two goals down at fellow title-chasers Lyon in order to be top of the table with four rounds to go. Islam Slimani (20') and an own goal by visiting captain José Fonte (35') had OL on course to go level on points with LOSC.

But the match was to turn into the Burak Yilmaz show. The 35-year-old Turk's stupendous free-kick (45+1') gave Lille a foothold and then Yilmaz set up the equaliser for his strike partner Jonathan David (60') before stylishly netting the vital winner (85') following a flick-on by Turkish substitute Yusuf Yazici.

ROUND 35: MONACO 2-3 LYON

Stretching the bounds of credibility, Lyon were involved in an even more exciting encounter the following Sunday. Rudi Garcia's OL were in desperate need of the points to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive but it was Volland's powerful shot that put the hosts in front (25'). OL skipper Memphis Depay (57') equalised but OL's hopes were seemingly hit when midfielder Maxence Caqueret was sent off (70').

Amazingly, defender Marcelo's header (77') put the visitors ahead before home skipper Wissam Ben Yedder (86' pen.) equalised with a cool panenka after Anthony Lopes had punched Pietro Pellegri. Yet (89') wonderkid Rayan Cherki sealed the points for OL to see them move a point back from their opponents on the night. What a time it was for the 17-year-old Cherki to score his first Ligue 1 Uber Eats goal. Much like September's PSG - Marseille match, the final whistle saw a general melee and red cards a-go-go.

ROUND 33: PSG 3-2 SAINT-ETIENNE

Five-goal thrillers and late drama were themes of a wonderful campaign. At the Parc des Princes in mid-April all of the goals came in the last 13 minutes as both sides' attacks woke up after an initially lethargic Sunday  lunchtime encounter. Denis Bouanga (77') put ASSE ahead but Mbappé (79' and 87' pen.) had PSG on course for maximum points.

Romain Hamouma (90+2') beat Sergio Rico with a goal that looked like making him very popular in Lille, only for PSG substitute Mauro Icardi (90+5') - hitherto anonymous - to head home an Angel Di Maria cross to ensure the capital club finished the weekend a point behind LOSC.

ROUND 31: PSG 0-1 LILLE

This match makes the list more for what it represented than because it was a game to be watched over and over again. At kick-off, PSG topped the table by goal difference from the visitors to the Parc des Princes. Canadian international forward Jonathan David - who scored 11 of his 13 league goals in 2021 - netted the only goal (20'), set up by former PSG player Jonathan Ikoné.

While PSG had the possession and half-chances, Les Dogues of LOSC defended, well, doggedly and duly took three massive points. LOSC took 12 points out of a possible 18 against the other members of the top four, while Paris Saint-Germain managed a mere four points against LOSC, Monaco and OL.

>> How Lille won the title

>> Lille Ligue 1 champions after Angers win