Rennes

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Monaco celebrates title with 12th straight win; PSG held 1-1

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PARIS (AP) Monaco celebrated its French league title by beating Rennes 3-2 for a 12th straight win on Saturday, finishing the season eight points clear of deposed champion Paris Saint-Germain.

[ MORE: Real Madrid is one point away from claiming La Liga title ]

Monaco sealed the title midweek and its players spray-dyed their hair in the club’s colors to celebrate.

[ MORE: Roma closes Serie A gap to one point ]

Monaco scored in its last 32 league games to set a single-season record. It scored 107 league goals – five more than PSG’s total last season – and 158 overall.

PSG conceded an injury-time equalizer in a 1-1 home draw with Caen. The result was priceless for the visitors, ensuring survival in a tense relegation fight. Bastia and Nancy were relegated and 18th-placed Lorient faces a playoff against the third-placed team from division two.

Lorient was moments away from staying up until Ronny Rodelin swept in a 91st-minute equalizer for Caen, having earlier missed a penalty. Caen also had a goal controversially disallowed, and when Rodelin did finally score, his goal set off scenes of wild delight.

Marseille striker Bafetimbi Gomis scored his 20th league goal to ensure fifth place for Marseille and a spot in the Europa League, while relegating Bastia.

RENNES 2, MONACO 3

Brazilian players Fabinho, Jemerson, and Jorge scored for Monaco, which always led, and Adama Diakhaby pulled two back for the home side.

PSG 1, CAEN 1

Midfielder Adrien Rabiot put PSG ahead early but striker Edinson Cavani failed to improve on his league-leading 35 goals.

With three minutes to go, Caen midfielder Julien Feret thought he scored but the goal was ruled out because one of his teammate’s was adjudged to be offside. But Caen coach Patrice Garande was dancing with delight when Rodelin atoned for a penalty miss to keep Caen in the top flight.

LYON 3, NICE 3

Top scorer Alexandre Lacazette bid the perfect farewell to Lyon, scoring twice to break his own record and reach 100 league goals for the club.

Lacazette came through the youth ranks and made his debut eight years ago. He is leaving, possibly to Atletico Madrid.

Lyon took the lead in the 10th minute when Nice defender Maxime Le Marchand inadvertently turned in forward Memphis Depay‘s shot.

Greek striker Anastasios Donis equalized five minutes later after being set up by midfielder Vincent Koziello.

Third-placed Nice salvaged a point with the last kick when midfielder Jean-Michael Seri coolly scored a penalty.

OTHER MATCHES

Lorient gave itself a chance of staying up after drawing with Bordeaux 1-1, and meets third-placed Troyes from the second division in a two-way playoff. A defeat would have relegated Lorient and put Nancy into the playoff on goal difference.

Dijon also ensured its safety with a 0-0 draw at Toulouse, and finished in 16th place, ahead of 17th-placed Caen on goal difference.

Nancy’s 3-1 home win against Saint-Etienne proved to be in vain.

Striker Nicolas De Preville scored a hat trick as Lille beat Nantes 3-0; Angers won against visiting Montpellier 2-0, and Guingamp beat Metz 1-0.

Marseille beats Rennes to stay in hunt for French 4th place

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PARIS (AP) Marseille showed it can cope without top scorer Bafetimbi Gomis by beating Rennes 2-0 at home in the French league on Saturday, a win that maintains its push for a top-four finish and place in the Europa League next season.

[ MORE: FA Cup — Burnley stunned by fifth-division side ]

Gomis has been Marseille’s best player this season, scoring 16 league goals, but picked up a knee injury last weekend and is expected to be out for up to six weeks.

In his absence, wingers Clinton N'Jie and Florian Thauvin grabbed second-half goals as Marseille moved level on points with fifth-place Saint-Etienne and one point behind fourth-place Lyon. They are both playing on Sunday.

France playmaker Dimitri Payet went close three times – hitting the crossbar with a rasping shot – before starting the move that led to N’Jie’s goal in the second half.

Five minutes later, Thauvin scored a powerful swerving shot into the top corner from 20 meters after running onto a neat back heel from midfielder Morgan Sanson.

Inconsistent Marseille has won its last three home games but lost its last three away.

Next up is a home game next Sunday against bitter rival Paris Saint-Germain – a must-win game in the eyes of the passionate Marseille fans at Stade Velodrome.

“PSG will be favorite but we’ll give everything,” Marseille left back Patrice Evra said. “We’re confident when we play at the Velodrome, but I’d like to us to do the same away from home.”

Later Saturday, Nice looked to keep the pressure on Monaco and PSG in a close title race. Nice welcomed back striker Mario Balotelli for the trip to play last-place Lorient.

Also, it was: Angers vs. Nancy; Caen vs. Lille, and Metz vs. Nantes.

Leader Monaco drew at Bastia 1-1 on Friday, meaning that defending champion PSG can close the gap to one point if it beats Toulouse at home on Sunday.

In Sunday’s other games, it is Lyon vs Dijon; Montpellier vs. Saint-Etienne, and Bordeaux vs. Guingamp.

Report: Man United keen on Rennes star Dembele

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Manchester United have reportedly sent scouts to France to keep an eye on one of the hottest young talents in Europe.

According to the Daily Mail, United sent a representative along to watch Ousmane Dembele play for Rennes against Lyon on Sunday and scouts from no fewer than five PL teams were at the game.

[ MORE: The end for Wenger at Arsenal? ]

It is believed Arsenal, West Ham, Southampton and Stoke City also sent scouts to the game with the latter three also interested in tempting French international striker Alexandre Lacazette to England.

However, the main focus is on 18-year-old Dembele and the teenager touted as the “French Neymar” is also attracting heavy interest from Barcelona (another separate report claims Barca has had a $45 million bid turned down already) and Bayern Munich, plus Europe’s other top teams ready to spend upwards of $45 million to bag the Rennes star.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Dembele has scored nine times in 19 appearances in his debut season in Ligue 1 and scored a hat trick on Mar. 6 for Rennes in a 4-1 victory over Nantes.

French national team coach Didier Deschamps has already admitted he has one eye on Dembele, and the forward can play centrally or on either wing and possess a terrific burst of pace. Yeah, he sounds like Neymar.

Let’s see if United or another of Europe’s big boys think he has the potential to be that good.

It’s undoubted that United have been looking to add more pace to their front line with Memphis Depay struggling out wide and Anthony Martial used more and more often in a central role. It seems like United are the front-runners in the PL for Dembele, but Barca and Bayern could prove tough competitors to get by.

ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays: Philadelphia Union defender Bakary Soumaré (shown above, shuffling) turns 27. The former MLS Best XI member is still searching for his form, but he has a bit of time. Maybe it’s in his birthday cake.

And Norwich City’s Michael Turner turns 29.

Big Important Stories of the Day: The conference finals are set. Who ya go? Who’s Steve got? What about Farley? Me, I’m taking the New England Revolution in 2013. Right now, though, it’s all about Houston. DYNAMOOOOOOOOO.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Paul Bravo.

*Ahead on the blog today: We break down the conference semifinals, while previewing the weekend action in the United States and over there in Europe. What else would you expect on a Friday? NFL previews? Sorry brah.

Twitter daps: jlakfjsldk

Everyone’s talking about the weather:

What you should watch on TV today: There aren’t a whole lot of options out there. Would you settle for Mainz 05 vs. Nürnberg? Or Nancy vs. Rennes? Man, it seems like Rennes is always on in this Friday afternoon timeslot. Weirdness.

We’ll leave you with this: Is this the best MLS season ever? Compelling storylines throughout, a rising level of play, drama on the last day thanks for Mr. Chris Wondolowski, and some fun playoffs so far. What do you think?