Lille win Ligue 1 title as PSG battle goes down to the wire

Lille have been crowned Ligue 1 champions for the first time 10 years after a 2-1 victory over Angers SCO on Sunday night.

Christophe Galtier’s side have topped Ligue 1 for much of the second half of the season and their battle with Paris Saint-Germain went down to the final match of the campaign.

PSG won their game 2-0 at Brest, but that victory was not enough to claim their fourth domestic title in a row as Lille secured a memorable win against the odds.

What happened on Sunday?
Ten minutes into Lille’s match against Angers, Canadian forward Jonathan David put them in front after being played in by Renato Sanches.

PSG, needing to better Lille’s result in Angers, were awarded a penalty in the 18th minute of their game, but Neymar fired wide from the spot amid mind games from Brest goalkeeper Gautier Larsonneur. Mauricio Pochettino’s side did eventually take the lead, however, courtesy of a Romain Favre own-goal just before the break.

Lille doubled their lead in first-half added time with a penalty of their own, as veteran striker Burak Yilmaz scored his 16th goal of the season. PSG then added a second in the 71st-minute of their match, with league top-scorer Kylian Mbappe netting his 27th goal of the campaign.

Angelo Fulgini scored a 92nd-minute goal for Angers to make it 2-1, but Lille held on for the final few seconds to secure their title.

How impressive have Lille been?

Very — Lille have assembled a talented and exciting squad on a much smaller budget than their title rivals, and Galtier’s incredible man-management has seen almost all of their players improve under his coaching.

Lille boast the best defence in Ligue 1, having conceded just 23 goals in 38 matches, with the highly-rated Dutch centre-back Sven Botman forming a daunting partnership with ex-Southampton and West Ham man Jose Fonte.

Sanches, once of Bayern Munich and Swansea City, has revived his career since his move to France and 35-year-old Yilmaz has enjoyed an Indian Summer having joined from Besiktas last summer.

Their achievement is all the more impressive when you consider Lille contended with a gruelling Europa League campaign which saw their knocked out by Ajax in the round of 32.

What happened to PSG?

Although PSG started the season well and were five points clear of Lille after 10 games, poor results against Monaco, Bordeaux and Lyon saw them slip to third in the table at Christmas.

This led to the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, with Pochettino replacing him during the winter break.

Although Pochettino’s side have been impressive, Lille were ultimately too good and David scored what proved to be a title-defining goal when Galtier’s side won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes on April 3.

Who else qualified for Europe?

Monaco claimed the third Champions League spot behind Lille and PSG with a goalless draw at Lens.

Lyon, who had topped the table on several occasions this season, just missed out on Champions League qualification as they lost 3-2 at home to Nice. They will be joined in next season’s Europa League by Marseille, who finished fifth.

Rennes, just pipping Lens on the final match-day with a 2-0 win over Nimes, will compete in the inaugural edition of the Europa Conference League.


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