Saint-Etienne into Europe, Valenciennes relegated from Ligue 1

With a 2-0 win over Montpellier, Saint-Etienne guaranteed at least a fifth-place finish in Ligue 1 on Sunday while Valenciennes said good-bye after eight years in the French top flight.

Saint-Etienne assured their presence in next season’s Europa League with a 2-0 win over Montpellier while a 1-0 home defeat for Valenciennes against Bordeaux consigned them to Ligue 2 action next season.

Saint-Etienne sealed their Europa League place after goals from Romain Hamouma and Mevlut Erding guaranteed them at least a fifth place finish. They can technically still qualify for Champions League as well, trailing third-placed Lille by five points with two to play.

Valenciennes, on 29 points, joined already relegated Ajaccio in failing to preserve their top-flight status after eight years in Ligue 1.

This 21st loss of the campaign left Valenciennes out of reach of Evian, the fourth from bottom club, on 38 points with just two games to play.

In contrast Sochaux, the other team in the drop zone, are still in with a major shout of surviving after a 2-0 win over Nice, with Jordan Ayew getting the second goal against, moving them up to 37 points.

In a trick of the fixture list Sochaux’s last match of the campaign is set to be an explosive encounter against Evian.

The game at Valenciennes was played out in a dire atmosphere with supporters giving their team the silent treatment and Israeli midfielder Maor Melikson missing an early penalty.

“It’s a nightmare,” lamented Valenciennes coach Ariel Jacobs after the final whistle.

“In the dressing room the players are resigned, beaten, it’s not an easy situation.”

In Sunday’s late game, Marseille produced one of their performances of the season, dishing out a 4-2 defeat to multiple former champions Lyon at the Velodrome.

Souleymane Diawara, Florian Thauvin, and a second half double from Andre-Pierre Gignac inflicted the damage for the south coast club who have Marcelo Bielsa signed up to assume managerial control next season.

The win moved Marseille up to 56 points, just two behind Lyon who occupy sixth spot and with it the second ticket to Europa League action.

Elsewhere on Sunday in France Lorient topped Ajaccio 1-0, Reims defeated Evian 1-0 and Toulouse and Nantes played to a 1-1 draw.

On Wednesday Paris Saint-Germain will be crowned champions with victory over Rennes, who lost Saturday’s Coupe de France final to Guingamp.

PSG will even win the title if Monaco fail to beat Guingamp in Wednesday’s early kick-off.

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Published: May 5, 2014 04:00 AM

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