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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May, 29, 2011

Monaco relegated, Lille celebrate

Seven-time French champions Monaco, who reached the 2004 Champions League final, will be playing their football in Ligue 2 next season after a 2-0 defeat to Lyon saw them relegated in 18th place, two points adrift of local rivals Nice.

Going into one of the most complicated and tight final-day battles in recent memory knowing they effectively needed to win to stand any chance of surviving, Laurent Banide's men were locked at 0-0 at half-time and still in with a chance.

But, when Pape Malickou Diakhate put Lyon ahead after pouncing on a loose ball in the box with 22 minutes left, the writing was on the wall. And, as hope began to disappear, Lisandro Lopez hammered the final nail into their coffin with an 82nd-minute clincher.

Nancy wrapped up their Ligue 1 campaign with a thrilling 4-0 victory over Lens, on a night when they could have been relegated.

Pablo Correa's men knew that they were one of a host of sides that could have fallen through the trapdoor into the second tier. But, with Monaco losing, the matter was resolved anyway, not that Nancy knew.

They were 3-0 ahead by the time Monaco's fate was finally decided, with Pascal Berenguer (two) and Bakaye Traore doing the damage, while Marama Vahirua started the party with a last-ditch strike.

Caen threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Marseille but ultimately did enough to ensure their Ligue 1 survival.

Monaco's loss - as well as defeats for Brest and Nice - meant Caen's result was immaterial in the final reckoning, which is perhaps just as well as they demonstrated the defensive frailty which landed them in trouble in the first place.

They looked inspired in the first half, going ahead through Yohan Mollo in the sixth minute and Niang Mbaye just before the break. But Marseille snatched a point as Loic Remy grabbed a second-half brace, the second with only two minutes left to go.

A Gregory Pujol brace gave Valenciennes a 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Nice although both sides managed to avoid the drop.

With one relegation place still to be decided, the teams went into the contest knowing they could be dragged into the bottom three if results did not go their way. Valenciennes ensured that would not be the case thanks to Pujol's second-half strikes, but Nice, who replied late on through Eric Mouloungui, also clung to safety thanks to Monaco's defeat.

Two goals from Xavier Pentecote meant Brest's season finished with a 2-0 defeat at the Stade Francis-Le Ble to Toulouse - but results elsewhere meant the Brittany side avoided an instant return to Ligue 2.

Pentecote's double inflicted only a fourth home defeat of the season on Brest - but Monaco failed to get the win they needed to lift them out of the relegation zone, while fourth from bottom Nice also lost, meaning Alex Dupont's side finished the campaign in 16th place.

For Les Pichouns, a sixth away success lifted them above St Etienne and Lorient for an eighth-placed finish in Ligue 1.

Paris St Germain's bid for Champions League football petered out as they were held to a 1-1 draw by St Etienne. PSG needed to win and see Lyon slip up against Monaco, but neither happened as Les Gones won 2-0, leaving the capital club to make do with a Europa League berth.

PSG only salvaged a point with a stoppage time penalty from Mathieu Bodmer after Josuha Guilavogui had given the hosts the lead with 20 minutes left to play.

A hat-trick from Moussa Sow gave newly-crowned champions Lille the perfect send off as they came from behind to beat Rennes 3-2.

Lille had only lost once at home all season but fell behind after a Aurelien Chedjou own goal only for Sow, the league's top goalscorer, to score a hat-trick. Victor Montano scored a late consolation for the visitors who finish the season in sixth place, good enough to qualify for next season's Europa League.

First half goals from Cheikh Diabate and Wendel enabled Bordeaux to round off the campaign with a 2-0 win, lifting them to seventh in the table against a Montpellier side who finished with nine men.

Cyril Jeunechamp picked up a second yellow card in the 74th minute for a foul on Marange, then four minutes from time Joris Marveaux was given a straight red for a foolish, reckless challenge on Benoit Tremoulinas.

The home side showed more enterprise throughout this contest at Stade Chaban Delmas and deserved the three points against a side who had little to play for and finished the season 14th.

Auxerre came from behind to beat Lorient 2-1 and secure a top-half finish .

Kevin Gameiro had given the hosts the lead but Ecuele Manga put through his own goal to level the game before Valter Birsa grabbed a winner early in the second half. The result means Auxerre climbed about Lorient in the table to finish ninth, while Christian Gourcuff's side ended the campaign in 11th.

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