France: PSG celebrates with win, Nancy relegated
PARIS (AP) -Zlatan Ibrahimovic stole some of the spotlight from David Beckham as he scored two goals to lead French champion Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-1 home win against Brest on Saturday.
Beckham, who announced on Thursday that he will retire at the end of the season, captained PSG in his last ever home game and played a part in the first goal before setting up the second for midfielder Blaise Matuidi with a well-taken corner.
Not to be denied, Ibrahimovic got the third with a free kick of astonishing power to for a career-best 29th league goal of the season. Beckham was given a standing ovation as he left the field in the 81st minute.
Elsewhere, Saint-Etienne beat second-place Marseille 2-0 to climb into fourth place and Nancy was relegated to the second division after losing 2-1 at home to Bastia.
"I'm very proud to have won this trophy,'' PSG center half Mamadou Sakho said as the players celebrated the league championship with the fans. "I'm very proud to represent the capital.''
In the relegation battle, Evian all but assured its survival by beating Valenciennes 2-0, and 18th-place Troyes maintained its slim chances of staying up by beating Bordeaux 1-0, profiting from Sochaux's 2-1 home loss to Toulouse.
Elsewhere, it was: Montpellier 0, Lille 0; Reims 1, Lorient 0, and Rennes 1, Ajaccio 1;
At Parc des Princes, PSG took an early lead. Beckham's free kick found Clement Chantome, and his pass released Ibrahimovic as he broke into the penalty area down the right side and buried the ball with a ferocious strike into the opposite corner.
Ibrahimovic almost scored again a minute later when David Beckham's superb long pass sent him clean through, but the imposing Swede hesitated over whether to head the ball over goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux or take it past him, and Theabaux snatched the ball off him.
PSG's players walked out to a thunderous reception and with Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit'' reverberating around the Parc des Princes stadium. PSG right back Christophe Jallet dyed his hair in the blue, white and red of the French flag, Javier Pastore wore white face paint with smatterings of blue spray paint in his hair, while the players all wore next season's team jerseys.
Beckham set up the second goal in the 31st minute with a well-weighted corner from the left, and Matuidi's mishit effort bounced into the ground and looped over Thebaux's outstretched arm. Ibrahimovic blasted in a free kick from 30 yards into the top left corner for the third goal in the 36th, denying Beckham the opportunity to take the set piece.
In the second half, Beckham almost set up striker Kevin Gameiro with a curling cross from the right that the striker headed wide, and Gameiro saw his shot kicked away by Thebaux as he sprinted through.
Beckham - who wiped away tears as he walked off - was given a warm ovation by players and fans alike.
Meanwhile, Nice's home match against third-place Lyon was postponed until Sunday afternoon because of heavy rains. But some Lyon fans traveling to the game were caught up in a vicious fight with Marseille fans on their way to Saint-Etienne, leaving several injured.
"These fights between known groups of fans are intolerable,'' French league president Frederic Thiriez said in a statement.
On Monday night, PSG's title celebrations at the Trocadero plaza were marred by violent clashes between fans and riot police, leaving dozens injured and leading to more than 30 arrests.
That meant PSG's game brought a stronger security presence, with about 150 riot police forming a ring inside the stadium in the second half. The show of force followed Monday night's violence, but there was nothing that could take away from the festive mood as fireworks lit up the night sky and players performed a lap of honor amid deafening cheers from fans.