Cameroon's Zamkel Ze boosts Metz survival chances; Munetsi & Doumbia’s goals send St Etienne closer to Ligue 1 relegation

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Youcef Belaili Brest
African stars put in a great shift during the French league’s penultimate round with relegation and Champions League places at stake

Cameroon forward Didier Zamkel Ze scored the only goal as Metz won their second straight match to boost their chances of avoiding direct relegation with a 1-0 victory over Angers in the penultimate round of the Ligue 1 season on Saturday.

Hopes of automatic survival are over for Metz, who are four points behind 17th placed Lorient with one match remaining, but they have a route to survival if they remain 18th and beat the winner of the Ligue 2 promotion playoffs.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe international midfielder Marshall Munetsi and his Mali counterpart Moussa Doumbia scored a goal apiece as Stade de Reims sent AS St Etienne closer to relegation following a 2-1 victory.

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Munetsi netted the opener for Reims after just two minutes before defender Eliaquim Mangala fired in a rebound to give hosts St Etienne hope with a 12th-minute minute equaliser. However, Doumbia made sure of the points for the visitors after 61 minutes from 18 yards out.

With the defeat, St Etienne drop into the automatic relegation places, leaving them behind Metz in the relegation play-off place on goal difference and will need to win their final game against Nantes while hoping Metz drop points to make the playoffs.

Elsewhere, Algerian forward Youcef Belaili was on target for Stade Brestois before Monaco came from behind to win 4-2 with Wissam Ben Yedder grabbing a hat-trick for the principality side, who now sit second on the table.

Brest went ahead through French defender Jean-Kevin Duverne after just 10 minutes before Belaili added a second 13 minutes later, but any hopes of an upset were extinguished on the stroke of half-time when Ben Yedder reduced the arrears from the spot.

The Frenchman would add further goals in the 51st and 54th minutes before Kevin Volland added gloss on the scoresheet 20 minutes from time as Monaco won five consecutive Ligue 1 home games for the first time since 2019 to pip Marseille into second place.

Marseille lost second place following a 2-0 away defeat to Rennes who could kick them out of the Champions League places altogether next week if they win their final game against deposed champions Lille while the former lose to Strasbourg.

Fourth-placed Rennes (65 points) are just three points behind Marseille and will occupy third place on goal difference with a win, coupled with a defeat to the latter since they have scored 21 goals more.

Senegal internationals Pape Gueye and Bamba Dieng featured for Marseille in Saturday’s match but could not contribute much.

At the Groupama Stadium, Cameroon international Karl Toko-Ekambi played 90 minutes as Olympique Lyonnais secured a fourth successive home win by defeating Nantes 3-2 with Nigerian forward Moses Simon featuring the entire match for the visitors.

Despite the win Peter Bosz’s men are set to miss out on European football given they will finish outside the top seven for the first time since 1996, piling more pressure on the already under-fire coach.