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Wednesday May 18, 2022

PSG wrap up record-equalling 10th Ligue 1 title despite Lens draw

By AFP
April 25, 2022

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain secured a record-equalling 10th Ligue 1 title on Saturday, moving level with Saint-Etienne, despite being held to a 1-1 home draw by 10-man Lens.

Lionel Messi looked to have curled in a fine winner in the 68th minute, but Lens dampened the already muted title party at the Parc des Princes through Corentin Jean with two minutes left.

PSG have an unassailable 16-point lead over second-placed Marseille with four matches remaining.

“The atmosphere is a shame,” captain Marquinhos told Canal+.

“Football is our passion, we started very young. We’ll try to have as much fun as possible. It’s a shame that won’t be with the supporters but we have to deal with it.”

Mauricio Pochettino’s men reclaim the crown from Lille, who were shock champions last season.

It is the capital giants’ eighth Ligue 1 triumph in the last 10 seasons, powered by the investment of their Qatari owners.

This season will still be seen as a failure for PSG, though, after collapsing to a dramatic loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16, after also suffering a surprise French Cup loss to Nice.

On Saturday, an inevitable league title was confirmed in a strangely non-celebratory atmosphere in Paris, with some ‘ultras’ leaving early in protest after the Champions League exit.

“That’s something I don’t understand,” said midfielder Marco Verratti. “I know that they were disappointed about Madrid, but at some point you have to move on.”

Attention in the French capital will now turn to the future of Kylian Mbappe, with the star forward still to decide whether to stay at PSG or leave for Real Madrid before next season.

Lens started brightly, with Seko Fofana firing an early strike just over the crossbar.

PSG grew into the game, though, with visiting goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca forced into smart saves from Achraf Hakimi and Messi.

The first big chance fell to Mbappe just after the half-hour mark, but the striker blazed wildly over after being played in on goal by Neymar’s clever flick.

Lens continued to threaten on the break, though, and a well-worked move ended with Jonathan Clauss shooting too close to Keylor Navas.

Mbappe almost broke the deadlock early in the second half after a quick free-kick by Verratti, but his first effort was saved by Leca and his follow-up attempt was blocked on the line.

PSG’s hopes of wrapping up the title with a win were given a boost in the 57th minute, as Danso was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Neymar.

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