Ligue 1

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain Will Finish No Worse Than Second

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 6: Edinson Cavani and Goncalo Guedes of PSG during the French Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and SC Bastia at Parc des Princes stadium on May 6, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain Will Finish No Worse Than Second

One of the massive upsets of the season took place in Week 36 of the 2016-17 Ligue 1 campaign. One week after Lucien Favre’s OGC Nice shocked the nation with a 3-1 scalp of Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain, the Eagles were scalped themselves by Rudi Garcia’s Olympique de Marseille at the Stade Velodrome to the tune of 2-1. Mario Balotelli scored in the 50th minute for Nice, but Marseille countered with goals from the returning Bafetimbi Gomis (21′) and an earth-shattering match winner from Patrice Evra in the 66th minute.

As for Paris and Leonardo Jardim’s AS Monaco, they kept winning on their end with big victories over sides bound for relegation to Ligue 2. After an early struggle against Rui Almeida’s SC Bastia at the Parc des Princes, they got clinic and delivered a clinical, professional, super effective 5-0 victory. Edinson Cavani closed in on top goalscorer honors with goals in the 76th and 89th minutes. Other goalscorers include Lucas Moura (32′), Marco Verratti (35′) and Marquinhos (83′).

Monaco responded with a 3-0 win over Pablo Correa’s AS Nancy Lorraine at the Stade Marcel Picot. Tobias Badila put the host side on the wrong foot early with an own goal in the third minute. Monaco then put the match away with goals from Bernardo Silva (40′) and Thomas Lemar (86′).

Paris Saint-Germain are all but guaranteed a spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage by way of a second place finish. A massive goal differential between PSG and Nice means that a draw by either side will finalize both places. And even if Monaco and PSG take care of business on May 14 against Lille OSC and AS Saint-Etienne, respectively, the Monegasques should be able to set up a massive party at the Stade Louis II by dispatching of ASSE at home in their makeup game on May 17.

“We played in a serious manner and everybody applied themselves as they all knew the importance of this game,” said Jardim. “We’re very happy with the three points that have moved us a bit closer to our objective. Nothing has been decided yet and it’s not over. We need to keep this attitude and carry it over into the three league games we have left. This was a big result for us, on a synthetic pitch three days after playing in the Champions League.”

“We spoke about it a lot this week,” said Emery. “The aim tonight was to play well and win in front of our home supporters. The team controlled the game, created chances and scored five goals. We need to keep the pressure on Monaco, even if the loss to Nice hurt us. We need to maintain the same winning mentality. We have to fucus on ourselves and maintain that motivation to keep playing well. It’s out of our hands, but we have to do our job.”

“It’s never easy playing a side that is fighting for its survival,” replied Thomas Meunier. “It took us a little while to open the scoring, but in the second half we were excellent. We were very solid in defence and finished with five goals. We want to finish the season undefeated at home. We can’t throw in the towel, we have to keep fighting and finish the season on a high note.”

“It was a dangerous match, but we started well,” said Adrien Rabiot. “We wanted to make up for our loss to Nice last Sunday. It was a great win tonight; we scored goals, played well and always looked to attack. We are going to fight to the very end and hope that Monaco slip up. We won’t give in.”

Our next live blog on the Stoppage Time will be a special live blog as it includes all the matches from Week 37 of the 2016-17 Ligue 1 season. Our featured match is AS Saint-Etienne vs. Paris Saint-Germain, live from the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, France. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET but the live blog will begin at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET and will include score updates and live look-ins from other matches going on, including the relegation races.

Keep it right here on The Stoppage Time, powered by Azteca Soccer, for more world football news. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Ligue 1

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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