Fredrik Varfjell/NTB Scanpix/AP

Le Havre needed an unlikely sequence of events to secure promotion and it very nearly happened.

By The SI Staff
May 13, 2016

Bob Bradley knows something about miracle sets of results to achieve a goal on the final day, and he very nearly had it happen to him again. 

Bradley, who oversaw the USA's unlikely qualification out of the group stage at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, came up painfully short in Le Havre's attempt to win promotion to Ligue 1 in its season finale, falling on a second tiebreaker and finishing in fourth place despite a 5-0 win on Friday. 

Le Havre trailed Metz for the all-important third place in Ligue 2 by three points while also needing to make up a goal differential of six to leapfrog in the standings. Le Havre did its part, routing Bourg en Bresse 01. Metz lost, which was also a must for Bradley, but it only fell to Lens 1-0. Metz advanced by virtue of having scored more goals (54-52)–the two tied on +15 goal differential–and will go to Ligue 1 next season, while Bradley, who joined Le Havre midseason, will have a full year with which to work to complete his promotion mission next season. 

When Bradley was the U.S. men's coach it faced a similar scenario. It needed to beat Egypt and have Brazil beat Italy, all while making up a goal differential of six. A 3-0 win over Egypt–which Bradley would go on to famously coach–coupled with a 3-0 Brazil win secured the USA's unlikely place in the semifinals, where it beat No. 1-ranked Spain.

Le Havre scored in the fifth, 38th and 45th minutes before the scenes at Stade Oceane really ramped up. Le Havre went up 4-0 through Issam Chebake, and Le Havre's fanbase started to realize how close its team had gotten to pulling off the miracle.

Despite Ghislain Gimbert's 83rd-minute strike to make it 5-0, Le Havre was left needing one more, either on their end or from Lens, and it never came.

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