Marseille secures a Champions League place as Di Maria bids farewell

Olympique de Marseille defeated Racing Strasbourg 4-0 and pipped AS Monaco to second place in Ligue 1 to qualify for the Champions League group stage, with assistance from RC Lens, as the season concluded with the announcement that Kylian Mbappe will remain at Paris Saint-Germain.

Monaco will enter the Champions League third qualifying round after Ignatius Ganago’s last-gasp goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Lens denied them runner-up status.

All eyes were on the Parc des Princes for the news that Mbappe had signed a new three-year contract with the French champions, who defeated Metz 5-0, with Mbappe hitting a hat trick to end Ligue 1 top scorer with 28 goals.

Metz was relegated to Ligue 2 together with Girondins de Bordeaux, who were demoted after 30 years in the top flight after a 4-2 victory at Stade Brestois and finished bottom of the league.

St Etienne finished 18th after a 1-1 draw against Nantes, setting up a relegation/promotion playoff with AJ Auxerre.

Marseille finished second with 71 points, 15 points behind PSG, who were crowned champions last month, and two points ahead of Monaco, who seemed to be clinging on to second place until Ganago’s goal six minutes into stoppage time deflated them.

Benoit Badiashile’s close-range goal in the 34th minute canceled out Przemyslaw Frankowski’s opening for the hosts before Wissam Ben Yedder’s second-half goal placed Monaco in second place.

However, in the final seconds, Ganago’s shot from inside the box denied Monaco a 10th successive victory.

Marseille won the battle for straight Champions League qualifying with a Gerson double and goals from Cengiz Under and Cedric Bakambu, but Lens’ Ganago goal practically clinched second place.

Stade Rennais, who had long been considered for a place in the Champions League, finished fourth and will now compete in the Europa League after Serhou Guirassy’s stoppage-time goal rescued a 2-2 draw against Lille.

DOUBLE FOR MBAPPE

Mbappe struck an early double in Paris, soon after signing his contract extension with club president Nasser Al Khelaifi, before Neymar netted his 100th goal for PSG to put the hosts 3-0 up after 32 minutes. more info

Mbappe and Neymar

Mbappe, 23, scored another five minutes into the second half after taking advantage of some bad defending, and Metz were reduced to ten men when Boubacar Traore received a second yellow card just before the hour.

Angel Di Maria scored PSG’s fifth goal in the 68th minute before breaking down in tears.

“I’d want to thank president Nasser Al Khelaifi for his trust, understanding, and patience,” Mbappe stated.

“I’d also want to thank everyone of Paris Saint-supporters, Germain’s both in France and throughout the globe, for their continued support, particularly in recent months. We will create magic in Paris together, side by side and ambitiously.”

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