Friday, 29 September, 2023


PSG win 11th French title as Messi breaks goal record

PSG win 11th French title as Messi breaks goal record
PSG forward Lionel Messi celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against RC Strasbourg Alsace during the French L1 match at Stade de la Meinau in Strasbourg, France on Saturday. – COLLECTED PHOTO

Paris Saint-Germain clinched a French record 11th league title on Saturday as Lionel Messi scored in a 1-1 draw away at Strasbourg.

Messi broke Ronaldo's record of 495-goal withhis 496th goal in Europe’s top five leagues.

Messi's opener was cancelled out by a Kevin Gameiro equaliser, but the result gave PSG an unassailable four-point lead over second-placed Lens with one match of the season remaining.

PSG moved ahead of the previous record of 10 titles set by Saint-Etienne in 1981 and which they equalled a year ago under former coach Mauricio Pochettino.

It is PSG's ninth title in the last 11 seasons, a period in which they have dominated French football under Qatari ownership.

"This afternoon I watched the last day of the season in the Bundesliga and you can see that it is very difficult to win the league, any league," PSG coach Christophe Galtier told broadcaster Canal Plus.

PSG started the penultimate weekend of the season six points clear of nearest rivals Lens with just six points to play for, and with a far better goal difference.

Lens secured second place and a ticket for next season's Champions League group stage with their win against Ajaccio, which was sealed by first-half goals from Deiver Machado, AdrienThomasson and Lois Openda.

Marseille, who lost 2-1 at home to Brest, must therefore settle for third place and will enter the Champions League in the third qualifying round.

Beneath them, Lille are now a point above both Rennes and Monaco, who met on Saturday, with the Brittany side winning 2-0 thanks to second-half goals by Lovro Majer and Amine Gouiri.

Rennes are fifth, above Monaco on goal difference. Fifth place goes into next season's Europa Conference League while sixth will not qualify for Europe at all.

Lyon's European hopes were effectively ended despite a 3-0 win over Reims in which Alexandre Lacazette scored his 27th Ligue 1 goal this season, leaving him just one behind Mbappe, the division's top marksman.

Nantes will go into the final weekend having to win to stand a chance of avoiding relegation as they sit 17th, two points behind Auxerre, who drew 1-1 at Toulouse.

Angers, Ajaccio and Troyes have already been relegated. Four teams go down and only two come up from Ligue 2 as the top flight is reduced from 20 clubs to 18 for next season.

There were also wins on Saturday for Angers, Nice and Clermont.