Toulouse and Lille in Europe next season

Ligue 1 Conforama


A 0-0 draw at home to Lyon was enough for Toulouse to clinch fourth place and a European berth while it took a gutsy win and string of favourable results for Lille to secure fifth place and a ticket for next season's inaugural Europa League - both on goal difference alone.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

 Toulouse FC / Olympique Lyonnais : 0 - 0

While former champions Lyon had sewn up third place and a Champions League qualifying spot weeks ago, Toulouse had everything to play for in the tightly packed group vying for Europa places.

The match pitted Ligue 1's two best defences against each other and, despite both sides' going forward as best they could, neither side could break the other down.

League top scorer André-Pierre GIgnac was in typically rambunctious form, causing the Lyon defence all sorts of problems, and eventually drawing two bookable fouls in as many minutes from Ghanaian defender John Mensah.

Mensah's sending off towards the end of the second half left his teammates with almost an hour to play with just ten men. This didn't stop Lyon from attacking however, with both Ederson and an excellent Karim Benzema going close midway through the second half.

Gignac also continued to menace but the scores remained even after 90 minutes. While a win would have secured fourth place for the TFC, Alain Casanova's men could in the end thank Monaco for holding PSG to a goalless draw, a result that meant Toulouse's goal difference kept them ahead of the men from the capital in the race for a European berth.

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 LOSC / AS Nancy Lorraine : 3 - 2

Lille had to win at home to Nancy to have any chance of qualifying for Europe, but also had to rely on other results to see them through.

Rudy Garcia's men did everything in their power to make this happen, battling out an intensely attacking and see-sawing match to eventually win out 3-2.

Going ahead early through goals from Slovak striker Robert Vittek and defender Adil Rami, Lille looked to be in the box seat before conceding a goal from Moroccan international defender Abdeslam Ouaddou just before the break.

Nancy's Moroccan striker Youssouf Hadji levelled the scores from a free kick in the 65th minute but Lille came home strongly and Nicolas Plestan notched the winner ten minutes later with a simple finish from close range.

Having secured the three points however, Lille also needed Paris to draw or lose and Rennes to fail to win in order to qualify for Europe, and with Rennes taking a 4-0 hiding from Marseille and Paris being held by Monaco, this is exactly what happened.

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 Paris Saint-Germain / AS Monaco FC : 0 - 0

Paris needed to win at home to Monaco to clinch fourth or fifth and a place in Europe next season, but a tepid display from Paul Le Guen's men in this 0-0 draw left them empty-handed after being tipped as potential title contenders just a month or two ago.

Visibly fatigued to the point of being whistled at by their own fans, Paris failed to make an impression on Monaco side who, in 12th place going into the final week, were playing under no pressure at all.

Despite rallying late on in the second half and creating some chances, notably through substitute and club top scorer Guillaume Hoarau, it was too little too late for Paris and they ended their season, and Paul Le Guen's time at the helm of the capital club, on a sour note.

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 OGC Nice / Havre AC : 0 - 0

With Le Havre assured of relegation weeks ago and Nice guaranteed to finish in ninth place, the stakes were low on the Côte d'Azur and the two sides ambled along to a 0-0 draw.

Frédéric Antonetti was surely hoping for a better display in his last match in charge of Nice and in the beginning the match had some promise, both sides exchanging blows early but soon the game calmed down and the goalless draw was ground out.

The biggest positive in the match was for Le Havre: they managed not to lose their final match in Ligue 1 before dropping down to Ligue 2 next season.

>> Team Sheet

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