Monaco and Nantes in danger on final day of French season
PARIS, June 2, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Paris Saint-Germain have wrapped up a record
11th French title but Monaco risk missing out on European qualification on
the final night of the Ligue 1 season on Saturday, while eight-time champions
Nantes are facing relegation.
PSG will pick up the championship trophy after their home game against
Clermont as the Qatar-owned club end a difficult campaign with a celebration.
Behind them, Lens are certain to finish as runners-up, meaning they will be
in the Champions League group stage next season for the first time since
Marseille will finish third and will enter the Champions League in the third
qualifying round in early August, with the likes of Panathinaikos, Sturm Graz
and Servette among possible opponents.
The remaining European spots are still to be decided. One point separates
Lille, Rennes and Monaco with just two berths in continental competition
Lille, Ligue 1 champions in 2021, sit fourth and are on course to qualify for
the Europa League.
A win away at already-relegated Troyes will suffice for Paulo Fonseca's team,
otherwise they will need slip-ups from the sides beneath them.
Rennes are fifth, a point behind Lille, and on course to qualify for Europe
for a sixth straight year with a spot in the Europa Conference League.
They are above Monaco on goal difference having beaten the principality side
2-0 last weekend, leaving their opponents in danger of finishing outside the
European spots in sixth.
Monaco were at one point on course for a Champions League place but have lost
form at the worst time and are on a run of just one win in six outings.
"It would certainly be a big failure if we missed out on Europe," admitted
Monaco coach Philippe Clement, whose team face Toulouse.
"A few weeks ago we were still competing for second place, but our level has
dropped a lot since then.
"It is not physical, it is more that our confidence has fallen."
At the bottom, Angers, Ajaccio and Troyes are already condemned to the drop
but there is still one place to be decided with four teams being relegated
Nantes, French Cup winners last season and runners-up again this year, are
two points adrift of Auxerre and safety.
The Canaries must end a 14-game winless league run by beating Angers, and
hope that Auxerre -- who have a worse goal difference -- fail to beat Lens.
"I have no doubt we will do what we have to do and beat Angers, and I have
even less doubt that Lens will do justice to their place in the table against
Auxerre," said Nantes coach Pierre Aristouy.
Player to watch: Lionel Messi
This is expected to be his last game for PSG. It could even be his final
match in Europe, with Saudi Arabia and MLS both possible destinations for the
Argentinian, even if Barcelona are keen to bring him back.
Messi will pick up his second Ligue 1 winner's medal after PSG's game against
Clermont. Signed on a two-year deal in August 2021 following his departure
from Barcelona, Messi has 32 goals in 74 matches so far for Paris. He has 16
assists in Ligue 1 this season, at least five more than any other player.
5 - Kylian Mb
appe tops the scorers charts going into the final weekend and so is on course
to end a fifth straight season as Ligue 1's leading marksman. He has 28
goals, with Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette on 27.
10 - Nantes could go back down to Ligue 2, 10 years after last coming up.
They are in danger of being relegated for the third time this century.
50 - Christophe Galtier will take charge of his 50th game as PSG coach.
Fixtures on Saturday (1900 GMT)
Ajaccio v Marseille, Auxerre v Lens, Brest v Rennes, Lorient v Strasbourg,
Monaco v Toulouse, Nantes v Angers, Nice v Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain v
Clermont, Reims v Montpellier, Troyes v Lille