There was a changing of the guard in France at the weekend, as Paris Saint-Germain have won their first Ligue 1 title in 19 years after Sunday’s 1-0 victory at the home of Lyon, for so long the dominant force in France.
Needing a win to wrap up the championship with two games remaining, PSG started slowly at the Stade de Gerland before gradually coming into the game as half-time approached. They made the all-important breakthrough eight minutes into the second half when Thiago Motta exchanged passes with Zlatan Ibrahimović before setting up Ménez to find the back of the net with a left-footed shot.
The final whistle sparked wild jubilation and the relief on the players’ faces told you that a massive weight of expectation had been lifted from their shoulders. Since being knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona, PSG have been off their best, and have limped over the finish line, instead of finishing in style.
After a massive summer spending spree, the pressure was on PSG all season. Not only were they expected to win the leap in a gallop, but manager Carlo Ancelotti has faced rumours for six months that he will be replaced at the end of the season.
Now that they have conquered France, the next goal for PSG will be the Champions League. And with that in mind, it will be interesting to see who PSG sign this summer, and what happens to Ancelotti.
Elsewhere 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.