A brace from Gerson, along with goals from Cengiz Under and Cedric Bakambu ensured a Champions League spot for Olympique de Marseille, who beat RC Strasbourg 4-0 in Ligue 1 at the Orange Velodrome.
Marseille were well on top for most of the first half, with their best chance coming in the sixth minute. Strasbourg lost possession of the ball in their own half quite sloppily, with the ball landing to Arkadiusz Milik in the middle of the box. He did well to lay off the ball to a rushing Amine Harit, whose shot somehow hit the post.
The let off for Strasbourg didn’t last long, on 31 minutes, the hosts scored their goal. The ball was bouncing around, but Gerson managed to keep possession, get past a few defenders, and squeeze the ball between the near post and the feet of Matz Sels.
The flow of the second half was disrupted early on due to the amount of smoke from the fans’ flares, making the visibility extremely poor. After about a five-minute delay, play resumed.
Once play restarted, the story of the first half continued, with Strasbourg never really threatening Steve Mandanda’s goal.
In the 73rd minute, the visitors made a triple change to try to get back into the match, but the tactic was quickly rendered useless as Marseille managed to score their second moments later.
The goal started on the left-hand side with Amine Harit, who got the ball centrally towards Milik. However, the Polish striker cleverly let the ball be, allowing Under to run onto the pass, and smash the ball into the back of the net.
In the 89th minute, Gerson added a second to his tally, after being set up by Milik for a finish to poke home. The match was well and truly over at this point but once substitute Bakambu scored the fourth in stoppage time, making OM level on goal difference with Monaco, who were in second, it wasn’t just about the three points. Fans in the stadium all held up their index fingers signifying to the players that they just needed one more to leap into second, and go straight into the Champions League group stages.
OM continued to push for the fifth goal, but in the end it wasn’t needed, as Stade Rennais did them a favour and scored a 96th equaliser against Monaco. The full-time whistles saw the matchgoers, the players, and all the coaching staff in tears as they celebrated the monumentous win on the final day of the season.
The loss for Strasbourg, combined with Nice winning, means that they drop down from fifth to sixth and fail to qualify for the Conference League.