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Lyon give Clermont Foot the boot in final day battle

Clermont Foot and Olympique Lyonnais played out an exciting finale to their Ligue 1 campaigns despite nothing riding on the result, with the visitors staving off a late comeback to claim a hard-fought 2-1 victory.

With European qualification disappointingly out of the question for the Men’s team for the first time in the 21st century, and having seen their Women’s side lift the UEFA Champions League trophy this evening, Lyon were at least determined to end their Ligue 1 campaign on a high. Clermont had been guaranteed safety with other results going their way last weekend, and applied some early pressure, but ultimately couldn’t find the opener. This gave Moussa Dembélé the opportunity, which he took, putting the visitors in front with a header – finding the net for the seventh match in a row.

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Having lost six of their eight matches at the Stade Gabriel Montpied against top-ten clubs before this test, it was no shock to see ‘Les Lanciers’ fall behind. That being said, they put up a strong fight, and came close to drawing level in the 36th-minute when Saîf-Eddine Khaoui’s ambitious strike from distance rattled the crossbar. Wastefulness was the theme for the home side before HT, and was their undoing as after the restart Houssem Aouar quickly added a second for ‘Les Gones’ from close range – potentially his last goal for the club.

The drama only intensified from there, and in the 10 minutes that followed Clermont were awarded a penalty, which was saved by Anthony Lopes from Mohamed Bayo, only for it to be retaken for encroachment from the goalkeeper, who saved the second effort, but spilled it to Bayo who stabbed in the rebound to pull one back. This set up a nervy end for the away side, who had conceded decisive goals after the 70th minute in both of their last two Ligue 1 away losses. Dembélé could have eased those tensions late on, but missed his opportunity for a brace, though in the end enough damage had already been done.

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Clermont may have ceded 16th-place to Lorient on goal difference due to the defeat, whilst on the flipside three points on the final day was still not enough for Lyon to move higher than eighth, as simultaneously RC Lens dramatically drew with AS Monaco. An intense end to the season for both, with a big summer ahead with sights on vast improvement in 2022/23.

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