Clubs to decide European fate

A look ahead to the weekend's action in the French Ligue 1, and a four-way battle for European spots.

Last Updated: 23/05/13 at 16:33 Post Comment

Lyon: Bidding to secure Champions League spot

Lyon: Bidding to secure Champions League spot

Lyon, St Etienne, Lille and Nice will all be engaged in a battle for European qualification during a potentially dramatic final round of matches in Ligue 1 on Sunday night.

A win for third-placed Lyon at home to Rennes would guarantee them a place in the Champions League but a loss would turn the spotlight firmly on events in Lille, where Rudi Garcia's men take on St Etienne, and a variety of scenarios could unfold.

A win for the Coupe de France winners, who are already guaranteed a place in the Europa League next season, coupled with a Lyon defeat would see Les Verts leapfrog Remi Garde's men into third.

A Lille victory by more than one goal, however, would see them qualify in the event of a Lyon loss while a win by a single goal would be enough if Lyon were to lose by two or more.

If Lille were to win by a single goal and Lyon were to lose by a single goal, it would then go down to goals scored, with Lyon currently leading by one.

In the event of that being even then Lille would finish third due to the head-to-head record between the clubs this season.

A draw in Lille would see OL qualify and a draw against Rennes would also likely see them sneak third place as they lead St Etienne by two points with a goal difference advantage of seven.

Nice also have a mathematical chance of finishing third but that would require them to beat Ajaccio, a Lyon loss, a home win or draw in Lille and a remarkable swing in goal difference.

A St Etienne victory could even see Lille slip out of the Europa League places should Nice secure a point.

A draw in Lille would leave Claude Puel's men needing a win to qualify for the second tier tournament, while if Lille were to beat St Etienne then Nice would, barring a remarkable set of circumstances involving them scoring in double figures, miss out on Europa League qualification.

At the other end of the table, Troyes will be looking to complete the great escape when they take on Valenciennes.

The Coupe de France finalists looked destined for the second tier following defeat to Nice at the end of April but three consecutive wins since have given them a chance of survival.

A victory against Valenciennes coupled with a loss for Sochaux away at Bastia would see ESTAC retain their Ligue 1 status at the expense of Eric Hely's men, and defender Mathieu Saunier does not want his team-mates to be overawed by the occasion.

He told www.estac.fr: "Sure we have the pressure but we ignore the issue.

"If we are too obsessed with the result, we will not succeed. We just play our football. The issue should not kill the game.

"Last season, we were also very united and this is what has allowed us to climb.

"We had a large group that made us win games. This year is the same and this is what can allow us to stay up.

"The arrival of some experienced players has also served us well in this regard."

A draw would be enough to see Sochaux safe and relegate Troyes and, while Evian and Ajaccio are still not mathematically safe, it would take a remarkable swing in goal difference for either of them to drop into Ligue 2.

Evian travel to Bordeaux for their final game.

In the day's other matches, champions Paris St Germain finish their season away at Lorient, Marseille take on Reims, Brest face Nancy and Toulouse host Montpellier.


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nd yet... Jermain Defoe is still going to pronounce himself gobsmacked when he learns he hasn't made the England squad for the Euro qualifiers.

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