St Etienne hopes to claim Champions League berth
St Etienne, France (SportsNetwork.com) - With the Ligue 1 season set to conclude on Saturday, St Etienne will aim to claim the league's final Champions League berth with a victory over Ajaccio and some help.
Les Verts enter the final weekend of the season two points behind third-place Lille, but can earn a spot in Champions League qualification with a win over already-relegated Ajaccio and a draw or loss by Lille at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole against Lorient.
St Etienne has rounded into fine form at the perfect time, coming into the match with Ajaccio on an eight-match unbeaten streak, including last week's comfortable 3-1 result over Nantes at the Stade de la Beaujoire.
The visitors opened the scoring after just 10 minutes through Melvut Erding and Max-Alain Gradel converted a penalty in the 23rd minute for a quick two- goal margin.
Erding then completed his double in first-half stoppage time before Serge Gakpe pulled one back for Nantes eight minutes from time, but it wasn't enough as Les Verts earned a crucial three points.
Ajaccio, meanwhile, has nothing but pride to play for after already being relegated to Ligue 2 for next season. The club has won just four matches all season, but will be hoping to play the spoiler against St Etienne at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
A tad further down the table, the battle for the final Europa League place in still on as fifth-place Lyon holds a one-point lead over Marseille.
Lyon concludes it season at the Stade Municipal du Ray against Nice, where a victory will ensure Lyon's qualification for the Europa League, while Marseille ends the season against Guingamp needing a win and a loss by Lyon.
Down at the bottom of the table, the final relegation spot is still undetermined. Valenciennes and Ajaccio will play next season in Ligue 2, while 18th-place Sochaux has an opportunity to remain in France's top flight.
Sochaux is one point behind Evian for safety, and as luck would have it, the two sides will meet on the final day. A win for Sochaux will see them safe and drop Evian into Ligue 2.
Also in France on Saturday, Monaco closes its season at home against Bordeaux, Bastia hosts Nantes, champions Paris Saint-Germain host Montpellier at the Parc des Princes.
Reims welcomes Rennes to the Stade Auguste Delaune II, while Valenciennes closes its campaign against Toulouse.
05/16 12:45:40 ET