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Monaco beats Lorient to secure third-place finish and Champions League spot in French league

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PARIS — Yannick Ferreira Carrasco scored the winner as Monaco beat Lorient 1-0 to secure a third-place finish in the French league on Saturday and claim the final qualifying birth for the Champions League.

With newly-crowned champion Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon already guaranteed the first two spots, Monaco traveled to Britany knowing a win would be enough to keep Marseille and Saint-Etienne at bay in their three-way battle for the remaining place in the third qualifying round of Europe's top competition.

Ferreira Carrasco ensured Monaco will play in the Champions League for the second straight year in the 20th minute with his sixth goal this season.

"Monaco showed on the pitch tonight that it really is the third best team in France," Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said.

On the last day of the season, PSG beat Reims 3-2 in a party atmosphere as it celebrated the league title with fireworks illuminating the French capital skies, while Lyon won 1-0 at Rennes courtesy of Clinton Njie's goal.

After clinching a third straight title last weekend, PSG finished with 83 points from 38 games — eight points above Lyon — after Edinson Cavani scored twice and Adrien Rabiot added another.

PSG, which also won the League Cup, can secure an unprecedented domestic treble and coach Laurent Blanc rested several regular starters, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, ahead of next week's French Cup final against second-tier Auxerre.

PHOTO: PSG soccer player Edinson Cavani, background center, challenges for the ball with Reims' Antoine Conte, during the French League One soccer Match between Paris Saint-Germain and Stade de Reims, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Saturday, May 23, 2015. Paris Saint-Germain clinched a third straight title. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
PSG soccer player Edinson Cavani, background center, challenges for the ball with Reims' Antoine Conte, during the French League One soccer Match between Paris Saint-Germain and Stade de Reims, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Saturday, May 23, 2015. Paris Saint-Germain clinched a third straight title. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

As Andre-Pierre Gignac bid farewell to the Marseille fans after five seasons at the club, Marcelo Bielsa's players put on a fine offensive display at the Stade Velodrome to beat Bastia 3-0. But the win was not enough to secure a podium finish for Marseille, which concluded the first half on the season on top of the table before a disastrous run of four consecutive losses in April damaged the club's ambitions.

"It's frustrating because there was not much to change to succeed," said Bielsa, whose team will play the Europa League next season.

Dimitri Payet put Marseille in front in the 15th minute with a brilliant solo goal that fueled his team's hopes. Payet picked the ball on the edge of the area, turned a defender and fired inside the near post. But a few hundred kilometers away, Ferreira-Carrasco put Monaco ahead a few minutes later, making the most of Bernardo Silva's ball into the box to fire a shot between 'keeper Benjamin Lecomte's legs.

"After spending so much time on the podium —and even better, at the top — we can kick ourselves for that," Gignac said.

Monaco striker Anthony Martial then missed the chance to double the visitors' lead when Lecomte parried away his penalty kick in the 47th minute after a Lorient defender handled the ball in the area.

Max-Alain Gradel's brace gave Saint-Etienne a 2-1 win over Guingamp, as Christophe Galtier's side finished fifth level on points with Marseille but a worse goal difference.

The second-half start was delayed at the Stade Velodrome as Marseille fans threw projectiles into the pitch, forcing the referee to send all players back to the dressing room. After Alexander Djiku scored an own goal in the 40th minute to extend Marseille's lead, Lucas Ocampos sealed the victory one minute from time with a brilliant goal, breezing past defenders in the box and coolly slotting home.

Fights broke out before kick-off between Toulouse and Nice supporters in downtown Toulouse, reportedly leaving one fan hospitalized as police made several arrests. Nice won the game 3-2.

In Bordeaux, former France great Zinedine Zidane tooke the inaugural kickoff at his former club's new stadium, moments before Diego Rolan gave the hosts a 1-0 lead from Jaroslav Plasil's assist. Rolan added another goal before half-time as sixth-place Bordeaux beat Montpellier 2-1.

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PHOTO: PSG soccer player Edinson Cavani, background center, challenges for the ball with Reims' Antoine Conte, during the French League One soccer Match between Paris Saint-Germain and Stade de Reims, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Saturday, May 23, 2015. Paris Saint-Germain clinched a third straight title. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
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