PSG clinch their 10th French title but celebrations are muted

PARIS, April 23 (Reuters) – Paris St Germain won a record 10th French top-flight title after stuttering a 1-1 draw with 10-man RC Lens, but celebrations were mostly subdued as fans frustrated headed for the Parc des Princes. out immediately after the final whistle on Saturday.

Lionel Messi’s goal was canceled out by Corentin Jean as PSG remained on 78 points, 16 ahead of second-placed Olympique Marseille, who play their late game at the Stade de Reims on Sunday.

PSG have now won eight of the last 10 Ligue 1 titles, having been denied only by Monaco in 2017 and Lille last year.

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PSG equaled the record set by St Etienne, who won 10 top-flight titles between 1957 and 1981.

Sealing the Ligue 1 title was, however, no cause for celebration for fans who were still angered by the club’s exit in the Champions League Round of 16.

PSG were eliminated after squandering a 2-0 aggregate lead in 15 minutes against Real Madrid.

On Saturday, the stadium was empty 10 minutes after the end of the match and the players skipped the traditional lap of honor.

Some ultra supporters had already left the Parc des Princes 15 minutes before the final whistle.

“It’s something I don’t understand. In football, you win, you lose. We try with all our hearts,” said Marco Verratti, the only player to win eight French top-flight titles.

Fans in the stands at Boulogne and Auteuil failed to show their support yet again even though their side had won all four of their previous games, scoring 16 goals in that run.

PSG were under pressure early on but came alive after 20 minutes when a swap between Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar almost paid off as the Brazilian’s low shot from inside the box went just wide.

BOOTED BY THE CROWD

Achraf Hakimi was denied by Jean-Louis Leca and Mbappe missed two clear chances as the hosts picked up the pace, but Lens also threatened through Seko Fofana and Jonathan Clauss.

PSG were booed by the crowd at half-time.

Kevin Danso picked up a second yellow card for a brutal tackle on Neymar in the 57th minute.

On the resulting free kick, Leca had to stretch completely to parry Messi’s attempt.

The Argentina striker fired a perfect shot from 25 yards into the top corner in the 68th minute after being set up by Neymar.

Part of the crowd chanted Messi’s name but the ultras from the Auteuil stands left the stadium seven minutes later and missed Lens’ equalizer when Jean latched onto a cross from Deiver Machado at the far post to give visitors a deserved point.

Lens, who had won their previous three games and are still hoping to finish in the top three, find themselves in seventh place on 54 points, five behind Monaco who beat St Etienne 4-1 away earlier on Saturday.

Geoffroy Guichard’s match was interrupted for almost half an hour after fireworks were lit in the stands.

Olympique Lyonnais are eighth with 52 points after a spectacular 5-2 victory against Montpellier.

Lyon fans insulted club striker Karl Toko Emkambi, who eventually responded with swearing, leaving club president Jean-Michel Aulas dumbfounded.

“The reaction from a small part of the public is regrettable. I went up to the microphone to say stop insulting the players,” he said.

“Fans pay to come but that doesn’t give them full rights. If this continues, I would prefer to leave. That’s not the goal of football.”

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Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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