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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Lille crowned ligue 1 champions; Juventus, Liverpool secure top 4

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Lille have been crowned Ligue 1 champions after a 2-1 victory at Angers on the final day of the season.

It is their first title in 10 years and is just the second time in the past nine seasons that Paris Saint-Germain have not finished top of the table.

PSG won 2-0 at Brest but needed a slip-up from leaders Lille and that was not forthcoming.

While it could have been a nervy day for Lille, Jonathan David’s 11th-minute strike set them on their way early on in west France.

Though chances were few and far between, they doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time when Burak Yilmaz netted from the penalty spot.

Renato Sanches could have put the game to bed shortly after half-time only to spurn a glorious chance, not that it mattered in the end.

Brest’s consolation goal came deep in second-half stoppage-time courtesy of a Angelo Fulgini goal and Christophe Galtier’s men never looked in trouble.

It is the fourth time in Lille’s history that they have been crowned champions of France as they ended one point clear of PSG.

Their 1-0 victory at Brest came courtesy of a Romain Faivre own-goal and a Kylian Mbappe strike midway through the second half. Neymar had missed from the spot with the scores still level for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

Monaco needed both teams above them to lose and to beat Lens handsomely if they were to capture an unlikely title, but could only draw 0-0 to finish their campaign.

At the bottom of the table, Nantes’ 2-1 defeat at home to Montpellier saw them relegated alongside Nimes and Dijon.

Juve sneak into Champions League

Juventus’ 4-1 rout of Bologna was enough to secure Champions League football next season at the expense of Napoli.

Andrea Pirlo’s side needed Napoli or AC Milan to drop points and to win on the final day or risk a campaign in the Europa League.

Federico Chiesa put Juve ahead after just six minutes before Alvaro Morata and Adrien Rabiot had them three goals to the good at the break.

When Morata added a second shortly after half-time to ensure the Old Lady weren’t going to slip up, all eyes turned towards the other games, despite Riccardo Orsolini’s late consolation.

Franck Kessie’s first-half penalty put AC Milan 1-0 up at Atalanta and despite a nervy ending, he netted a second from the spot in stoppage-time to ensure AC leapfrogged their opponents into second place and booked a place back in Europe’s elite in the process

But further south, Napoli could not see off mid-table Hellas Verona. Amir Rrahmani put them ahead on the hour-mark, only for Davide Faraoni to peg them back just nine minutes later.

Gennaro Gattuso’s men couldn’t force a winner and slipped out of the top four as a result, with AC and Juve securing their spots alongside champions Inter Milan and Atalanta.

Champions Inter Milan thrashed Udinese 5-1 earlier in the day to cap their tremendous title-winning campaign.

Liverpool

The Reds did what they had to do on the Premier League’s final day of the season, beating Palace and ensuring a third-placed finish

Liverpool ensured a nightmare season ended on a high, securing Champions League qualification with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield.

In front of a crowd of 10,000, Sadio Mane’s double gave the Reds a precious and comfortable victory, ensuring they finish the season third in the Premier League table.

It is Leicester who miss out on the top four, the Foxes beaten 4-2 by Tottenham at the King Power Stadium having twice led. Chelsea sneak into fourth despite a 2-1 loss of their own away at Aston Villa.

Liverpool made a nervy start to the game, and could have found themselves behind early on when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s loose pass sent Andros Townsend racing clear. The Palace winger, though, dragged his shot wide of the far post.

The home side grew into the contest thereafter, and wasted a great chance of their own when Rhys Williams headed Andy Robertson’s corner over the bar from seven yards when totally unmarked.

Vicente Guaita denied Mohamed Salah after a superb pass from Thiago Alcantara, Robertson screwed a shot wide and Mane was wild when set up by Gini Wijnaldum, who was almost certainly making his 237th and final appearance in a red shirt. Wijnaldum was given a standing ovation when replaced by James Milner late on.

The breakthrough came on 36 minutes, Robertson’s corner glanced on by Williams and when Roberto Firmino got a touch at the far post, Mane was there to force the ball home, his 15th goal of what has been a mixed campaign for the Senegal star.

It was relatively comfortable thereafter, Liverpool able to control proceedings despite the difficulties posed by a swirling wind inside the stadium.

Chances were at a premium, with Palace barely venturing near the Reds’ penalty area and Liverpool unable to convert their dominance.

That changed on 74 minutes when a swift break saw Wijnaldum and Salah combine. Salah fed Mane, and his shot took a deflection en route past Guaita for 2-0.

That killed the game as a contest, though Salah battled hard for a goal which would have earned him a share of the Golden Boot. Alas, it never came, meaning Spurs’ Harry Kane takes the prize.

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