Lyon clinch Champions League spot

PARIS - Olympique Lyon will play in next season's Champions League after securing second place in Ligue 1 with a 2-0 home win over relegated Le Mans in the final round of matches on Saturday.

Bafetimbi Gomis and Miralem Pjanic netted as Lyon finished on 72 points, six behind champions Olympique Marseille who beat bottom club Grenoble 2-0.

"It's amazing, nowhere is there as much passion as in Marseille. It's fabulous, fantastic for the players, I'm so proud to be their coach," Didier Deschamps told Canal Plus TV as his players were presented with the trophy.

Senegal striker Mamadou Niang converted a Marseille penalty five minutes before the interval to finish as Ligue 1's top scorer with 18 goals. Hatem Ben Arfa made it 2-0 from 25 metres in stoppage time.

Lyon's fans also had something to cheer when their team made light work of Le Mans to secure their 11th straight participation in the Champions League.

The hosts broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime when Gomis poked the ball in from close range. Pjanic then latched on to a Lisandro Lopez cross to score in the 68th minute.

Winger Sidney Govou, set to leave after 11 years at Lyon, got a standing ovation from the crowd when he was replaced in stoppage time.


AJ Auxerre claimed third place and a Champions League play-off spot when a Cedric Hengbart double earned a 2-1 win at 10-man Sochaux.

"Some good results this season gave us confidence and we knew anything was possible tonight," said captain Benoit Pedretti.

Lille, who started the day in second spot, dropped to fourth after a 2-1 defeat at Lorient and will play in the Europa League.

"I feel very sorry for the fans, for the club, for my team mates," said midfielder Yohan Cabaye.

Cabaye missed a second-half penalty after Lorient striker Kevin Gameiro had cancelled out Ricardo Costa's opener. Yann Jouffre struck the winner for the home team in the 65th minute.

Promoted Montpellier, who won 3-1 at Paris Saint-Germain, will also feature in the Europa League after finishing fifth.

Last year's Ligue 1 champions Girondins Bordeaux, who lost 4-3 at Racing Lens, ended up sixth and will not play in Europe next season.

Coach Laurent Blanc, widely tipped as Raymond Domenech's successor for the France job, declined to say whether he would stay at the club next season.

"You will know nothing about my future tonight," he told a news conference.

Le Mans, Boulogne and Grenoble were relegated while Caen, Brest and Arles-Avignon were promoted from Ligue 2.

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