PSG clinches Ligue 1 title after Monaco draws Guingamp
PARIS (AP) - Paris Saint-Germain won the French league title for the second straight season on Wednesday after its rival Monaco was held to a 1-1 draw by French Cup champion Guingamp.
The draw, which left second-place Monaco seven points behind with only two matches to play, meant that PSG could afford to slip to a 2-1 defeat against Rennes in front of its home fans in the late kickoff.
PSG took an early lead through Argentina winger Ezequiel Lavezzi, but relegation battler Rennes assured it will stay in the first division as it hit back with goals from midfielder Foued Kadir and forward Paul-Georges Ntep to dampen the atmosphere at Parc des Princes.
''The stadium was full and we couldn't win, unfortunately. But we won the title and that's the main thing,'' PSG midfielder Yohan Cabaye said.
Monaco looked to have delayed PSG's title celebrations for a little longer when forward Dimitar Berbatov headed home in the 77th minute, but Guingamp substitute Fatih Atik equalized with a volley in the 85th.
''PSG is a great team and they deserved it,'' Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri said.
PSG, which was formed in 1970, has won four league titles. The club has invested massively in star players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani, since Qatari investors, QSI, bought the club three years ago.
Although PSG has had a comfortable run to the title, there have been some far from convincing performances. In recent weeks, PSG labored to a 1-0 win against Evian, drew 1-1 at Sochaux and lost to Rennes - all teams battling against relegation.
''It was a difficult game,'' captain Thiago Silva said. ''We've had 10 good months, but the last month has not been good.''
Against the other top four teams, PSG has won only one of five league games - at home to Saint-Etienne. PSG drew twice with Monaco, drew at home to Lille and needed a somewhat fortuitous goal from midfielder Blaise Matuidi to sneak a 2-2 draw at Saint-Etienne.
PSG's players were all smiles, shook hands in the tunnel and did high-fives before they took the field, with the crowd roaring in delight upon hearing the news from Stade Louis II that Monaco had drawn.
''We weren't thinking about Monaco, but before the game we were told that Monaco drew so that's why we were relaxed when we came out,'' Pastore said on Canal Plus television during the halftime break.
Last season, PSG won the league with 83 points - a total it has already equaled - and finished 12 points ahead of Marseille and 16 clear of Lyon.
PSG also won the League Cup in April, beating Lyon 2-1 in the final, but went out in the Champions League quarterfinals for the second straight season on the away goals rule, losing 2-0 to Chelsea after winning the home leg 3-1.
In a tight first half, Guingamp almost surprised the home side when Lionel Mathis set up fellow midfielder Thibault Giresse - the son of the former France midfielder, Alain Giresse - and his shot was well saved by goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Berbatov looked visibly angry when, in the 55th, midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia tried his luck from 25 yards (meters) rather than pass to him in a better position.
Ten minutes later, winger James Rodriguez picked out midfielder Joao Moutinho, but his tame header was easily saved by Mamadou Samassa, who then saved Berbatov's near-post effort moments later.
But the former Bulgaria forward broke Guingamp's resistance when he headed in from close range after substitute Nabil Dirar's crossed from the right, taking his tally to nine in 14 games since joining from Premier League side Fulham on a six-month deal in January.
However, slack defending let in Guingamp, and Atik was left unmarked to volley in a loose ball inside the penalty area.
The draw gives 16th-place Guingamp a vital point in its relegation scrap, moving it two points above Sochaux in 18th spot.
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