AS Monaco's 2000th Ligue 1 match has proved to be their last as goals from Pape Diakhate and Lisandro Lopez send the 2004 Champions League finalists down.
Monaco have been relegated from Ligue 1 for the first time in over three decades after a 2-0 defeat at home to Olympique Lyonnais, who in the process confirmed their place in the Champions League play-off.
Seven years ago today, when Monaco were licking their wounds after their final defeat to Porto in Europe's premier club competition, this fixture would have been a title decider, but today it was a different affair – Monaco needed a win to guarantee survival, while their opponents had it all to play for, with Paris Saint-Germain breathing down their necks for the third Champions League place.
The tension within Stade Louis II was palpable, but Monaco were slow out of the blocks, with Lyon dominating the early part of the game, but lacking any real penetration.
The hosts thought they had won a penalty, as Jimmy Briand’s clumsy tackle took Malonga down, and the Congolese midfielder went tumbling into the box. The referee gave a free kick, which was duly wasted.
Pape Diakhate missed a free header from a Lyon corner which could have put another nail in the Monaco coffin, but the Senegalese defender sent his header wide, to the relief of the Principality. Briand squandered another chance for the visitors after a quick break for Les Gones, his left-footed shot drifted agonisingly wide as Monaco held their breath.
Lloris made a comfortable save on the stroke of half time, but in truth, that was the closest Monaco had come to getting a crucial goal. Half time came with news that Nancy and Caen were both winning comfortably, and Laurent Banide's side needed to up their tempo in the second period if they were to stand any chance of survival.
The Red and Whites started the second half with more impetus than they displayed in the first. Sebastien Puygrenier brilliantly headed away a cross with Lisandro Lopez lurking, and at the other end, Georgie Welcome forced a superb save from Hugo Lloris with a bending left foot shot that was making its way to the corner of the Lyon goal.
But as the hosts surged forward, they left themselves exposed at the back. Ederson charged down the right, pulling the ball back to an unmarked Lopez, whose shot went inches wide. It was a real heart-in-mouth moment for Monaco, but minutes later, they were dealt a massive blow.
Sebastien Chabbert, making a rare appearance between the sticks, did fantastically to beat out a ferocious left footed drive from Lopez, but the ball fell kindly to Pape Diakhate, who bundled it home. The hosts appealed for offside, and the officials were to anger the hosts again.
Petter Hansson got the vaguest of touches on a set piece, and Hugo Lloris dropped the ball. Monaco appealed that it had crossed the line, but it was to no avail.
Lloris made another save to deny an acrobatic shot from Moukandjo as Monaco got desperate, but on the 82 minutes, Lisandro Lopez ended the principality club’s 35 year tenure in the top flight as he collected the ball on the penalty spot, and blasted the ball into Chabbert’s goal.
Scoring had always been Monaco’s problem this season. They were relegated with only 40 goals conceded – an amount akin to their opponents of the day, but only managed to score 36 goals.
Lyon, meanwhile, will play in the Champions League for the 13th consecutive year if they can progress past the play-offs, but their hosts face at least a year in the second tier.
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