Final day drama in French League

May 22, 2012, 08:51 IST | AFP

Montpellier claimed the first French league title in their history after winning 2-1 at Auxerre on an extraordinary final day of the season on Sunday, after a game twice delayed due to protests by the home fans.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Second-placed Paris Saint-Germain did all they could by winning 2-1 at Lorient, and the delays at Auxerre meant that Rene Girard’s side had to endure a nervous wait before their title success was confirmed.

Players of Auxerre (white & yellow) and Montpellier clear out tennis balls thrown by relegated Auxerre’s supporters, who even hurled toilet paper on the pitch. Pic/AFP

Montpellier finished the season three points clear of cash-rich PSG in the final standings, which gave the southern club their first major honour since the 1990 French Cup.

Auxerre broke the deadlock in the 20th minute at Stade Abbe Deschamps, with Olivier Kapo heading home from a corner. A defeat was the only means by which Montpellier could have been denied the title but they equalised in the 32nd minute when John Utaka converted a low right-wing cross from Souleymane Camara.

The Auxerre fans’ protest at their relegation — which saw them throw tennis balls and toilet rolls onto the pitch — began at the start of the second period and forced the players to return to the changing rooms.

When play resumed, Montpellier were 19 minutes behind the Lorient-PSG game. Soon after, flares thrown by Auxerre’s fans forced the players to leave the pitch again and led to a second delay lasting around 20 minutes. When play resumed, there were only 16 minutes to play, but Utaka calmed the visiting fans’ nerves in the 76th minute when he swivelled to slam home his second goal and take the title to Stade de la Mosson.

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