Europe here we come!
4 goals and a ticket to the Europa League
Girondins qualify for Europe with victory over Metz.
Saturday 19th May: here we go! It's 9 o'clock, crunch time. The final game of the 2017/2018 season, with European qualification still hanging in the balance.
The Girondins started the evening in 7th place, coming off a run of five wins in six games. All of which made Bordeaux the team to beat, with players such as François Kamano and Younousse Sankharé hitting a rich vein of form in this late season comeback.
With a World Cup coming up, this final day of the season could easily have been something of a non-event. But not for the Girondins. Tonight, Bordeaux had Europe in their sights!
Metz, on the other hand, had nothing to play for this evening. Rock bottom of the table and relegated weeks ago, the northerners were already mentally in Ligue 2, after a long and exhausting season in the top flight.
A SLOW START, THEN A CHANGE OF GEAR
The first few minutes passed without incident, as the teams attempted to gauge one another. But after ten minutes of sterile passing, and some animated encouragement from Gus Poyet on the sidelines, Bordeaux finally got going.
Malcom floated in a corner towards Martin Braithwaite, who headed it safely into the back of the net to give Bordeaux the lead! (0-1) Fourth goal of the season for the striker, who has finally found his form with the Girondins !
The Girondins were running Metz ragged, demonstrating their superiority on the ball and slicing through the defence at will. In the 17th minute, after another rapid attacking movement, Malcom made it 2-0 !
The stats said it all in this first half: 70% possession for Bordeaux. But the Girondins were in no rush, taking the time to probe the weaknesses of the Metz defence. You could hear a pin drop in Stade Saint-Symphorien. The fans seemed every bit as exhausted as the players at the end of this long, gruelling season.
Lukas Lerager livened things up before half time, with a long distance effort boxed away by Kawashima.
The Danish midfield general kept pushing forward, orchestrating the attacks and linking up well with fellow coutnryman Braithwaite. The latter was instrumental in the next goal, charging into the box and teeing up François Kamano to make it 3-0 at half time!
Eighth goal of the season for Kamano!
Time for the second half: consolation hot-dogs for the fans left in the stands, and European dreams being played out on the pitch.
Bordeaux picked up where they had left off: on the attack. François Kamano, Martin Braithwaite and Malcom all ran riot through the Metz defence.
As good as Bordeaux undoubtedly were this evening, there's no denying that Metz were a shadow of themselves. But Frédéric Hantz's men refused to give up enirely, doing their best to enjoy their final minutes in the top flight.
But after a brief spell in which the home side enjoyed a bit of possession, Bordeaux decided it was time to put the game to bed. Nicolas De Préville, a late sub for François Kamano, connected with a superbly-placed long ball from Maxime Poundjé. His cross-cum-shot left the keeper stranded, making it 4-0 Bordeaux in the 78th minute!
There was nothing left to do now but count down to the final whistle, and with results going in our favour elsewhere the evening ended in euphoria for Bordeaux:
The Girondins are back in Europe!
Yet again, Poyet's men did the club proud tonight.
With a resounding victory in Metz's Stade Saint-Symphorien, Bordeaux guaranteed their place in next season's Europa League!