In a magnificent, ten-game end to the Ligue 1 SRL, the world bore witness to more than a few incredible results although PSG did end their season on a high note. So did Marseille and Stade Rennais who qualified for the Champions League with Olympique Lyon falling short despite a win on the last day.
Amiens 0-1 OGC Nice
While they were battling for Champions League football, a loss and a draw to surround three wins meant that there would be no European football for OGC Nice. But the away side still managed to end the season as an upper mid-table side with an eighth place finish and a win over Amiens to cap off an impressive campaign. That final bit was hard work, however, with Amiens putting up an impressive fight and dominating the first half.
They created more dangerous attacks (27-17) and had more shots on goal (10-4) but still failed to find the net in the first half. Things changed in the second half and Nice made the most of their form despite only creating 21 more dangerous attacks. But they found the net just after the 75th minute and that made all the difference with Amiens failing to equalise despite a late-fightback.
Bordeaux 0-1 LOSC Lille
LOSC Lille were battling and hoping for Champions League football but it simply wasn’t written in the script for the Ligue 1 side. Instead, Lille had to settle for a nice Europa League spot with their 4th place finish and also a win on the final day. But much like OGC Nice’s win, this one also never looked like a game that would go in favour of the away side. The hosts dominated the first half but while they did create 40 dangerous attacks to Lille’s 23, Bordeaux only took six shots.
Lille managed to produce the same although the hosts did spend more time in dangerous attacks (63-37) but, despite that, the first half would end goalless. Things changed in the second half as Lille fought back and produced an impressive comeback even taking the lead in the 74th minute and that would effectively mark the end of the game. That’s despite the fact that Bordeaux ended up with 76 dangerous attacks, 12 shots on goal and 5 on target but luck or fate, simply wasn't on their side.
Metz 0-0 Angers
As goalless draws go, this one was the furthest thing from boring because, for most of the game, the match was evenly poised and yet balanced on a scale that looked like it would tip at any moment. Both sides were evenly matched going into the game although Angers (1W 2L 2D) had a slightly better record than Metz (4L 1D). That gave them a slight advantage and yet it never showed with both sides fighting tooth and nail in the opening half.
Yet no goals were scored and that trend continued into the second half despite a combined total of 27 shots on goal, twelve on target and eight corners. Not only that the sides created well over a 100 dangerous attacks between them but still either side failed to push ahead and set the tone for the game.
Nantes 3-1 Strasbourg
An even battle between two mid-table sides but it was Nantes that walked away as convincing winners in the end as the scoreline above proves. However, a quick look at the first half and few would have expected that to happen with both sides evenly matched. While Nantes created 27 dangerous attacks, Strasbourg had 26 but the visitors spent 18 seconds per attack as compared to their hosts’ 16. Not only that both sides found the net in the final fifteen minutes of the first half which left the second delightfully poised.
But the second half was completely one-sided with Nantes pushing ahead two minutes after the restart before they doubled their lead in the 72nd minute. The two-goal obstacle proved to be far too big for Strasbourg to hurdle and they effectively let their hosts walk away with the win. That was proved by the fact that they took their second and last shot of the second half, a full half an hour before full time.
Nimes 1-3 PSG
They walked in as Champions of the Ligue 1 and no matter what happened anywhere else, PSG would walk out as the same. Maybe, that’s why the first half was evenly poised at least as far as the statistics counted with Nimes outdoing their visitors in nearly every department. They created 29 dangerous attacks to PSG’s 28, spent 24 seconds per attack as compared to PSG’s 9 and had six shots as compared to PSG’s three.
But despite that, the Parisians walked into the break with a two goal lead which left little doubt in anybody’s mind as to how this game was going to end. Nimes did put up a fight-back in the second half and pulled one goal back six minutes into the restart but that was that from the hosts. They would take only four more shots in the second half but while PSG took only five, they tripled their advantage before full-time.
Olympique Lyon 2-0 Stade Brestois
A tough first half for the hosts and while they did take nine shots on goal, they simply couldn’t find the net and neither could Brestois. The visitors fired five shots on goal from their 31 dangerous attacks but still couldn’t hit the net despite testing the goalkeeper on three separate occasions. But it was still an exciting first half yet the lack of goals had the audience and fans craving for more.
That would change in the second half although the price they paid was the lack of action. Lyon slowly and steadily started dominating the game as they created 44 more dangerous attacks with Brestois creating just 20 more. That changed the course of the game and Lyon walked away with the win after netting twice in the final ten minutes of the game. But their performances over the season meant that they wouldn’t earn Champions League football and had to settle for the Europa League.
Reims 1-1 Olympique Marseille
Marseille this season have been a revelation under their new manager with him improving their squad despite having little to no money in the bank. Their main focus has been defensive and it’s why despite spending 28 seconds per attack in the first half, Reims only had six shots on goal. But Marseille weren’t half bad moving forward either with the away side taking the lead via a penalty in the 20th minute. That lit a fire under the hosts and they hounded the visitors into making mistakes and eventually scored on the brink of half-time.
The second half would see no more goals although not for a lack of shots. Both sides had a combined 17 shots on goal with nine of those on target. The shocker is the fact that out of those nine, Marseille took six and yet they failed to find the net. It wouldn’t matter in the end as the visitors had sealed their second place finish and the hosts had managed to sneak the last Europa League spot to end the season.
Saint-Etienne 0-2 Dijon
A tough game for Saint-Etienne to accept but the hosts were simply not at their best tonight and deserved to lose. They dominated the first half with more dangerous attacks (30-22) and more shots on goal (8-4) but they spent less time in dangerous attacks (13-23) which may have eventually lead to their downfall. It certainly helped Dijon’s chances of winning with the away side scoring twice in the space of three minutes against the run of play in the first half.
That didn’t stop the hosts from dominating both halves but the visitors stood firm until the final blast of the whistle to walk away with a win. It proved to be a massive three points as it would move them up to 13th. Saint-Etienne’s dominance shocked many as they ended the game with 72 dangerous attacks, 16 shots on goal, six on target, six corners and even spent 51% of their time in dangerous attacks. And yet they failed to find the net finishing their season in 17th, just above the relegation zone.
Stade Rennais 2-0 AS Monaco
With their hopes of Champions League football on the line, Rennais had to make sure they grabbed a hold of the game early and held on tight. Shockingly, they actually managed to do just that with a goal inside the first ten minutes of the first half and they ended the first half on top. Not just on the score-board but on the statistics sheet as they created more dangerous attacks (30-24), spent more time in the same (78%-22%) and even had more shots on goal (6-5).
They ensured their place in the Champions League, as Rennais doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half. That effectively gave Monaco no chance in having anything to say with the away side struggling to even hit the target. A red card seven minutes from time effectively ensured that Monaco would have nothing to say and Rennais narrowly made the cut for the Champions League.
Toulouse 3-1 Montpellier
An impressive performance in the first half saw Toulouse score not once but twice in the opening half an hour but Montpellier weren’t there to make numbers. The visitors proved their worth by pulling one goal back before the end of the first half but nothing was on their side. They created fewer dangerous attacks (18-25) and had fewer shots on goal (4-9) in the first half. Yet that didn’t seem to matter and the visitors had momentum on their side going into the break.
It would make no difference whatsoever in the second half as Toulouse doubled their lead fourteen minutes into the restart. That effectively put an end to the game although Montpellier did start the second half well with four shots in the opening twenty minutes. It changed after the goal and the visitors eventually accepted their fate against a side that was already relegated.