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Toulouse roar into Europe

Published: Saturday 26 May 2007, 23.33CET
Johan Elmander scored a hat-trick to give Toulouse FC a 3-1 win against FC Girondins de Bordeaux and a place in the UEFA Champions League qualifying stage.

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Published: Saturday 26 May 2007, 23.33CET

Toulouse roar into Europe

Johan Elmander scored a hat-trick to give Toulouse FC a 3-1 win against FC Girondins de Bordeaux and a place in the UEFA Champions League qualifying stage.

In a remarkable finish to the league season, Johan Elmander scored a hat-trick to give Toulouse FC a 3-1 win against FC Girondins de Bordeaux, which, along with a last-gasp equaliser by LOSC Lille Métropole against FC Stade rennais, gave them the last remaining UEFA Champions League qualifying slot.

Huge leap
Toulouse were in sixth place before kick-off with RC Lens, Bordeaux and Rennes all ahead in the pecking order for a place in Europe's elite competition at the start of the final day of the league season. However, although they fell behind to Geraldo Mauricio Wendel's early goal, the home side rallied to overcome Bordeaux, with Elmander grabbing three goals on 39, 52 and 72 minutes, and the odds to climb three places as somehow results elsewhere went in their favour.

Last-day drama
In third place at the start of the day, Lens made life difficult for themselves when defender Marco Ramos was dismissed ten minutes before half-time. The visitors had already fallen behind to an early goal by Gaël Danic and matters worsened as already-relegated ES Troyes Aube Champagne scored twice in three second-half minutes through Blaise Matuidi (54) and Yann Lachuer (57) to win 3-0. All eyes now turned to Rennes, who looked certain to book their place in the UEFA Champions League after John Utaka (74) put them ahead against Lille . However, Nicolas Fauvergue equalised at the death to shatter Rennes's European dreams and spark celebrations in Toulouse.

Houllier send-off
Elsewhere, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and AJ Auxerre signed off with wins against AS Saint Etienne and Valenciennes FC. Anthony Le Tallec scored the only goal of the game for Sochaux while Daniel Nicolae (17), Thomas Kahlenberg (21) and Kevin Lejeune (90) were on target in Auxerre's 3-1 victory. Champions Olympique Lyonnais and runners-up Olympique de Marseille also ended the campaign on winning notes as Samri Nasri (61) scored in Marseille's 1-0 defeat of CS Sedan-Ardennes and Florent Malouda (21, 69) and Harim Benzema (86) gave outgoing Lyon coach Gérard Houllier an emotional 3-1 win. Elsewhere Paris Saint-Germain won 1-0 at FC Lorient, AS Monaco FC won 2-0 success against AS Nancy-Lorraine and OGC Nice drew 3-3 with Le Mans UC 72.

Last updated: 27/05/07 23.03CET

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