PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain won the French league title yesterday for the second successive season after nearest challengers Monaco were held to a 1-1 draw by Guingamp.
PSG started the day knowing a win against Rennes at the Parc des Princes would see them retain the Ligue 1 crown even if Monaco won, but news of the result in the principality was met with jubilation by Paris fans gathered for their match.
The result left second-placed Monaco seven points behind PSG with only two matches of the season remaining and means that Claudio Ranieri’s side will have to settle for the runners-up spot and automatic Champions League qualification.
Monaco took the lead against Guingamp in the 77th minute courtesy of a strike from the in-form Dimitar Berbatov, his fifth in his last four games.
However, Fatih Atik equalised for the Bretons five minutes from the end, and PSG fans cheered as it filtered through to them that Monaco had been pegged back.
Guingamp, who won the French Cup at the weekend, hung on for a precious draw in their fight against relegation despite having Moustapha Diallo sent off.
They remain just two points clear of the relegation zone, while Rennes -- Guingamp’s victims in the French Cup final -- kicked off at the Parc des Princes just one point better off.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc named Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench for the game against Rennes, with the Swede set to make his first appearance since suffering a thigh injury in the Champions League quarter-final, first leg against Chelsea just over a month ago. Without Ibrahimovic, Paris have toiled in the league, losing at Lyon last month and then missing a chance to wrap up the title when they had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Sochaux 10 days ago.
However, their dominance of Ligue 1 has been almost absolute, and they have not been off the top of the table since October.
Helped by Ibrahimovic’s tally of 25 goals, they have already set a new record for the most goals scored in a Ligue 1 campaign and are on course to break the record for the most points.
It is PSG’s fourth French title since their foundation in 1970, following previous triumphs in 1986, 1994 and last season, and is added to the League Cup they won last month by beating Lyon 2-1 in the final.
Meanwhile, French second division club Clermont yesterday named Helena Costa as coach, making the Portuguese the highest-level woman in charge of a men’s team in the major European championships.
Costa, 36, has been the coach of the women’s national sides in Qatar and Iran.Agencies