BC-SOC--French Roundup,2nd Ld-Writethru
PARIS (AP) — Loic Remy scored a beautiful volley in a 1-0 win over Bordeaux in the French league on Sunday to help Lille cement its grip on second place and direct qualification for next season’s Champions League.
Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain has already sealed its sixth league crown in seven seasons.
Lille, which played its last game in Europe’s top club competition six years ago, extended its lead over third-place Lyon to nine points. Lyon can reduce the gap with a win at Marseille later Sunday but, with only two rounds of matches left, Lille also has a far better goal difference over its southern rival.
The team that finishes third should start the Champions League tournament in the qualifying rounds. However, the third-place team will go direct into the group stage if Chelsea, which already qualified, wins the Europa League final against Arsenal.
In a cagey first half, the 32-year-old Remy volleyed home from Jonathan Ikone’s free kick in the 27th minute. Ikone looked like he would take a direct free kick but instead chipped the ball over the Bordeaux wall for Remy to fire it past goalkeeper Benoit Costil for his sixth goal this season — and his third in as many games.
Last-place Guingamp was relegated to the second division following a 1-1 draw at Brittany rival Rennes that sealed its fate on Sunday.
Guingamp trails 18th-place Caen by seven points and now can’t erase the deficit. The last two teams are relegated and a playoff between the club that finishes 18th and the team finishing third in the second division is held at the end of the season.
After Alexandre Mendy canceled out Ismaila Sarr’s first-half opener with three minutes left, Guingamp forward Marcus Thuram missed a penalty in added time.
Guingamp, which last played in the second division during the 2012-13 season, has managed just five wins this term.
“It’s disappointing not to carry on in the L1,” Guingamp coach Jocelyn Gourvennec said. “Six years, it’s a long time, we got used to it. We need to quickly bounce back.”