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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 18, 2013

Beckham in tears as career closes

David Beckham rolled back the years with a vintage performance in what appeared to be the final match of a decorated career as Paris Saint-Germain celebrated their Ligue 1 title triumph with a routine 3-1 victory over already-relegated Brest.

Beckham announced he would retire at the end of this season in midweek and was handed the captain's armband before producing a performance worthy of his peak years, which included an assist, if not a goal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic threatened to overshadow the former England skipper's night with a brace in-between Blaise Matuidi's strike in the first half, but it was clear to see this evening belonged to Beckham.

There is an outside chance he will play in PSG's final match at Lorient next Sunday, but the 38-year-old made a perhaps telling emotional exit in the 82nd minute by hugging most of his team-mates to a standing ovation from all at the Parc des Princes before making way for Ezequiel Lavezzi.

While Brest got the scoresheet in the 80th minute through Charlison Benschop, who beat the offside trap before firing past PSG substitute goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, it paled into insignificance when Beckham was substituted.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder was struggling to hold back the tears as the PSG players came to pay their respects to him, with the game coming to a complete standstill.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was also seen wiping away a tear as Beckham was replaced by Lavezzi.

The rest of the match was conducted in a party-like atmosphere as PSG prepared to lift their first league crown since 1994.

St Etienne kept their Champions League hopes alive by beating second-placed Marseille 2-0 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

First-half goals from Loic Perrin and Brandao were enough to move ASSE to within a point of third-placed Lyon, whose penultimate match at Nice was delayed until Sunday due to bad weather.

Victory for Lyon would put them out of sight with St Etienne at least assured a Europa League place following their Coupe de la Ligue success.

Marseille had sealed their Champions League place with a 10-game unbeaten run but that came to an end despite a late rally that saw Mathieu Valbuena hit the post.

Lille's European hopes remained in the balance as they were held 0-0 at Montpellier.

The visitors could have gone level with Lyon in third place with a win, but instead they had to make do with fifth place and finishing the game with 10 men following Benoit Pedretti's injury-time red card for dissent. And Lille could slip a place if Nice beat Lyon on Sunday in their re-arranged clash.

Grzegorz Krychowiak's first-half penalty helped Reims guarantee their Ligue 1 status after a battling 1-0 victory over Lorient.

Reims were promoted from Ligue 2 last year and were still in slight danger of a return as they lay four points clear of 18th-placed Nancy with two matches remaining.

But this victory, secured when Krychowiak netted from the spot just after the half hour, pushed Hubert Fournier's men five points clear of the drop ahead of the final weekend of the season.

Evian all but assured themselves of Ligue 1 football next season by beating Valenciennes 2-0.

Goals in the opening 12 minutes from Saber Khelifa and Fabrice Ehret made it back-to-back wins in the league for Pascal Dupraz's men.

The result means Evian are three points above the drop zone with one round remaining but they have a healthier goal difference than third-from-bottom Troyes, who also won tonight. Evian round off the campaign at Bordeaux while Troyes travel to Valenciennes.

A slow start at home to Toulouse ensured Sochaux would go into the final game of the Ligue 1 season still not safe from relegation after they lost 2-1.

The hosts need a draw at Bastia on the final day to be absolutely sure of staying in the top flight after their two-match winning run came to an end.

Issiaga Sylla and Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro scored in the first 21 minutes of the first half to put Toulouse in control, and despite Giovanni Sio pulling one back before the break, the hosts could not find an equaliser, even after the visitors had Etienne Capoue sent off 15 minutes from time.

Troyes took their fight for safety to the final weekend after exacting revenge on 10-man Bordeaux for their Coupe de France defeat in midweek, running out 1-0 winners.

Fabien Camus slid in the only goal after 56 minutes as he timed his run from the left to meet Jeremie Brechet's through ball.

Bordeaux won their Coupe de France semi-final 2-1 on Tuesday but any chance of breaking Troyes hearts again were prevented when Julien Faubert harshly saw red after 65 minutes. Troyes will therefore head into their final-round clash at Valenciennes three points adrift of a trio of clubs.

Ajaccio's bid for survival will also go to the final day, although they moved to the brink of safety thanks to a 1-1 draw at Rennes.

With just one game remaining, Ajaccio are three points above the relegation zone and they would have to suffer an extreme goal swing to go down.

Fousseni Diawara gave Ajaccio a sixth-minute lead only for Mevlut Erding to equalise in first-half stoppage time.

Nancy were condemned to relegation following a 2-1 defeat to Bastia at Stade Marcel Picot.

Anthony Modeste's 72nd-minute strike sent the Lorraine club down and ensured Bastia retained their own top-flight status.

Bastia led through Ilan on 47 minutes and, while Sebastien Puygrenier levelled on the hour, Modeste decided Nancy's fate before next weekend's final round.

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