Karim Ait-Fana scored in
stoppage-time to lift Montpellier to a dramatic 1-0 win over
third-placed Lille on Sunday and keep them three points clear of
Paris Saint-Germain at the top of Ligue 1 with one game left.
Montpellier, who have never won the French title, are on 79
points with PSG on 76 after they thrashed Stade Rennes 3-0 home
thanks to a hat-trick by Nene.
"We believed in it until the end. What the lads did was
fabulous," Montpellier coach Rene Girard told French TV Canal+.
Montpellier travel to basement side Auxerre, who are
relegated, next weekend and PSG play at Lorient.
"Nothing has been achieved. We have a game left at Auxerre
and it would be a disgrace to lose there," Ait Fana told
Both clubs secured Champions League places and Lille, who
surrendered their title at the Mosson stadium and are on 71
points, will feature in the qualifying round.
"It's beautiful," a tearful keeper Geoffrey Jourdren said.
Girondins Bordeaux climbed into the Europa League qualifying
spot as Yoan Gouffran scored from the penalty spot in
stoppage-time to help his side beat Lorient 1-0.
Auxerre, who have been in the top flight since 1980, were
relegated to Ligue 2 after they lost 3-0 at Marseille.
France and Marseille striker Loic Remy left the pitch
because of an adductor muscle injury which could rule him out of
the European Championships.
In Montpellier, the hosts were about to settle for a draw
when Ligue 1 top scorer Olivier Giroud ran through from the
middle of the pitch to set up Ait-Fana who poked the ball into
an empty net.
The unheralded leaders, who were supported by an unusually
packed crowd, had their chances to take the lead earlier, but
midfielder Jamel Saihi failed to score in the 23rd minute after
Giroud had superbly set him up.
In a tense first half, both teams were too cautious to
threaten the opposition goalkeepers, while Eden Hazard, who was
carrying Lille's faint hopes of retaining their title, produced
a poor performance.
The Belgian woke up after the interval but he was denied the
opener when Jourdren tipped away his curling free-kick.
His counterpart Mickael Landreau also pulled off a pair of
beautiful saves before substitute Ait-Fana gave his side their
16th home victory of the season.
At the Parc des Princes, PSG also struggled before the
break, but Nene and Jeremy Menez inspired them to an easy win
early in the second half.
"It will obviously will be more difficult to win the title,"
coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
"But tonight we achieved an important goal, which was to be
in next season's Champions League. I'm very happy to have chosen
PSG and I hope we will be better in the future.
Nene scored the opener from close range in the 47th minute
after Jeremy Menez ran through the right side to set him up.
The Brazilian curled a superb free-kick into the top corner
on 58 minutes and netted his 21st league goal from the penalty
Rennes fell to seventh spot on 57 points, one point behind
They are still chasing a Europa League qualifying spot along
with Saint-Etienne, who are sixth on 57 points after they lost 3-2
at mid-table Nancy, and Toulouse, who drew 1-1 at 19th-placed
Dijon to move up on 56 points.
Elsewhere, Lyon were held to a 1-1 draw at 18th-placed
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