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PSG crowned French champions after 1-0 win

AFP/The Local · 12 May 2013, 23:30

Published: 12 May 2013 23:30 GMT+02:00

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Paris Saint-Germain sealed their first Ligue 1 title since 1994 with a 1-0 win at Lyon on Sunday.

Marseille's 2-1 win over Toulouse on Saturday, their fourth success in a row, had ensured PSG would have to keep the champagne on ice until after their own game.

But former AC Milan winger Jeremy Menez scored the only goal of the game against a limp Lyon side and that proved enough to deliver the silverware.

"I am very happy, especially because it is not easy to win here," said PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti.

"We showed that we deserved the title. It was a difficult season, but after December we became more solid and compact and things went well."

Ancelotti added that he hasn't discussed his future with the club's ambitious Qatari owners.

"We have not had the time. There are still two games to play, we will respect our rivals and the championship."

He added: "I have had a great deal of confidence in the title because the players have the best individual quality."

Lyon coach Remi Garde was gracious in defeat, particularly given his side can now no longer overtake Marseille in the race for second and direct access to the Champions League group stages.

"Congratulations to PSG, even though it's a bit difficult to watch them celebrating their title here," he said from Lyon's Stade Gerland.

"Paris have a lot of quality, even though we were a long way from our worst match for some time."

PSG were by far the better side on a night where third-placed Lyon also had much to play for as they look to seal a place in next season's Champions League.

But there was only going to be one winner as PSG proved once again this season that they are simply a cut above the rest.

In a lively start both goalkeepers were called into early action, with PSG's Nicolas Douchez clawing away a Baftembi Gomis header before Lyon's Anthony Lopes was equally at full stretch to palm Zlatan Ibrahimovic's lob away from his goal.

Mouhamadou Dabo was then in the right place on the line to block a goalbound Ibrahimovic shot while Douchez resorted to an unconventional kick to clear his lines from Yassine Benzia's sighter from long range.

Midway through the first period, slick PSG play saw Javier Pastore slip in Menez behind the backline but Lopes was quickly out to smoother the winger's effort on goal.

The game seemed to be petering out into a tactical affair until Menez sparked it into life on 53 minutes.

Thiago Motta was the architect, robbing Maxime Gonalons in midfield before playing a one-two with Ibrahimovic and then feeding the unmarked Menez to fire left-footed across Lopes from 15 yards.

PSG came closest to notching another as Menez got down the left and crossed for Pastore, but the Argentine's close-range shot was blocked by Lopes's legs.

Lyon were matching PSG in terms of possession but could make little headway against the best defence in the league. Even when Bakary Kone got up to meet Clement Grenier's free-kick, he couldn't direct his header on target.

Story continues below…

PSG held on for a 23rd clean sheet this season and that ensured the title was theirs.

Earlier on Sunday Nice and Saint-Etienne saw their hopes of participating in next season's Champions League suffer potentially fatal blows as they lost 4-0 at Evian and 3-1 at Lorient respectively.

Nice's collapse against relegation-threatened opponents was particularly alarming, but aided in no small part by Saber Khelifa's incredible 60-yard lob.

Khelifa scored another to add to strikes from Kevin Berigaud and Mohammed Rabiu.

Second-half goals from Kevin Monnet-Paquet, Fabien Robert and Yann Jouffre provided the perfect tonic for Christian Gourcuff's Lorient following their chastening 4-0 midweek defeat at Evian in the semi-finals of the French Cup.

Kurt Zouma handed the visitors a lifeline ten minutes from time at Stade du Moustoir, but it proved scant consolation for Saint-Etienne as their 16-game unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt.

Those results left Nice three points shy of Lyon and also dropped them to fifth, behind Lille, with Saint-Etienne in sixth and now further point off the Champions League positions with just two games left.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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