The curtain came down on the 2021-2022 Ligue 1 season, and the final act brought its share of surprises and disappointments on Saturday May 21. The spectators were treated to the Kylian Mbappé show at PSG, the fury in Marseille qualified in extremis in the Champions League in front of AS Monaco, the pain of the relegated Metz and Bordeaux and the reprieve snatched by AS Saint-Etienne, barrage.
PSG’s brilliant victory against Metz (5-0) was totally overshadowed by the extension until 2025 of star Parisian striker Kylian Mbappé, rumored in the afternoon and confirmed by club president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi before kick-off, all smiles alongside his jewel. “Very happy to stay in France, in Paris”the striker, assiduously courted by Real Madrid, received the ovation of the Parc des Princes, euphoric then amazed by the hat-trick (25e28e50e) of the French world champion.
The number 7 of the Rouge et Bleu, eager for records, became the first player to complete an L1 season as top scorer (twenty-eight) and best passer (seventeen). And as the party was total, the Brazilian Neymar scored his 100e goal with Paris and the Argentinian Angel Di Maria, his last, in tears to conclude seven years in the French capital.
Champions League: Marseille doubles Monaco at the finish
In Marseille, at the Vélodrome, OM supporters experienced a magical evening: a card (4-0) against Strasbourg and an equalizer in added time for Lens against Monaco (2-2), synonymous with second place for the Phocaeans and direct qualification for the next Champions League. Marseille recovered the jump seat that the Monegasques had blown from them last weekend after an incredible scenario. As leading roles: Gerson (double), Under and Bakambu on the Olympian side, without forgetting Ganago, RC Lens scorer in the 96e minute.
The Olympians will try next year to do better than extras in the Champions League where, for their last appearance – in 2020-2021 – they finished bottom of their group in the group stage. The Monaco dragster, carried to Lens by the momentum of its nine victories in a row, finally stalled just before the finish line.
Philippe Clement’s team, still eighth in the championship in mid-March, finished on the last step of the podium. It will be necessary to go through a preliminary round, then win a play-off in August to access the lucrative Champions League. In case of failure, the club will be transferred to the Europa League.
European Rennes and Nice
Rennes sweated profusely on Saturday evening but their draw from Lille (2-2) was enough to make them happy. The Bretons finish in fourth place in the championship, with the same number of points as Nice but a much higher goal difference. Without Guirassy’s late achievement, Bruno Genesio’s team would have been beaten at the post by a completely unleashed Niçois in Reims (3-2). Trailing 0-2 after less than twenty minutes, the Aiglons overthrew their hosts in the second half with a hat-trick from Andy Delort.
OGC Nice will have to settle for the Europa League Conference next season, a disappointing consolation prize for a team that was still in second place in the Championship at the start of March. The withdrawal of a point inflicted after the excesses at the Allianz Riviera in August 2021 against OM will have been fatal to the club owned by Ineos.
Strasbourg let its European ticket slip away at the Vélodrome and ended its great season in sixth place, ahead of Lens then Lyon, eighth after its victory (2-1) at Clermont.
Greens still alive
AS Saint-Etienne retains a chance to stay in Ligue 1 after its miraculous draw in Nantes (1-1), where Hamouma donned superhero clothes in the last quarter of an hour. In the play-off position, the Greens will face Auxerre, winner of the second division play-offs, on May 26 and 29 with a return match at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium, where a stand will still be closed for disciplinary reasons.
The tenacity of the Stéphanois is the misfortune of Metz, nineteenth with one point less. The Garnets return to Ligue 2, three years after leaving it. They descend to the lower floor in the company of Bordeaux, a historical monument of the French championship, relegated for the first time since 1991 (at the time an administrative demotion). The club with the scapular ended its catastrophic season (discarded players, ulcerated supporters, a defeat against OM after forty-four years of invincibility at home…) with an insufficient card in Brest (4-2).