By ADAM TROXTELL
Paris Saint-Germain continues to be the standard bearer in France.
The capitol club sealed its third straight Ligue 1 title on Saturday by beating Montpellier, 2-1, on the road. All three goals were scored in the first half before both teams set about trying to stifle the other in the final 45 minutes.
Eight yellow cards were produced in the second half alone. The quality was on display earlier, as Blaise Matuidi ran in alone to gather Adrien Rabiot’s through ball, collected himself and applied the finish for a 17th minute PSG lead.
Ezequiel Lavezzi made it 2-0 eight minutes later. The Argentine arrived in the middle to turn Serge Aurier’s cross into the net as PSG began to stroll toward the title.
Just before halftime, Anthony Mounier offered some Montpellier resistance. After dribbling down the right, the attacker cut inside and, with little room for error, bent a strike inside the far post.
It wasn’t enough to turn the tide. PSG added a fifth title in club history with just one round of games remaining in France.
Elsewhere, Steven Gerrard’s goodbye at Anfield was crashed by Crystal Palace. Freiburg handed another loss to Bayern Munich, while Juventus produced a comeback win against Inter Milan.
Here are more recaps from the weekend’s action in Europe’s top leagues:
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Crystal Palace is turning into a real bogey team for Liverpool.
Last season, Palace was coming back to ruin the Reds’ title hopes. This time around, the London club crashed the party again, winning 3-1 at Anfield in what was captain Steven Gerrard’s final home game.
After a warm reception for the midfielder, who ends a 17-year career with Liverpool, Adam Lallana looked to make it a happy occasion when he intercepted a back pass to go clean through on goal. The 26th minute finish had the Reds in the lead.
Jason Puncheon pulled Palace level just before halftime with another perfectly executed free kick. It’s his second such goal in two weeks after the winger did similar damage against Manchester United last week.
Leave it to a former Red Devil to rain on Liverpool’s parade. Less than a minute after entering the game, Wilfried Zaha stepped up to poke Yannick Bolasie’s cross into the net for a 2-1 Palace lead in the 60th minute.
The unsavory ending for Gerrard was complete in stoppage time, as Glenn Murray added another for Palace by scoring on the rebound of his own penalty kick.
Two goals in seven minutes could prove to be Newcastle’s demise. Emmanuel Rivere’s first strike since signing for the Northeast club last summer was canceled out by QPR’s Matthew Phillips and Leroy Fer in a 2-1 win for the Londoners.
Newcastle, just two points away from the relegation zone, now has to win at home against West Ham next weekend or hope that Hull can’t produce any magic against Manchester United.
Leicester City assured Premier League survival in a 0-0 draw against Sunderland.
Here is a complete look at Saturday’s Premier League action:
Southampton 6, Aston Villa 1
Burnley 0, Stoke 0
QPR 2, Newcastle 1
Sunderland 0, Leicester 0
Tottenham 2, Hull 0
West Ham 1, Everton 2
Liverpool 1, Crystal Palace 3
Bayern Munich’s final few games as Bundesliga champions have hardly been a parade.
Pep Guardiola’s side suffered its fifth defeat in six outings as struggling Freiburg gained a 2-1 win. Freiburg climbed out of the relegation zone by a single point ahead of the final round of games next weekend.
Admir Mehmedi equalized in the 33rd minute after Bastian Schweinsteiger opened the scoring 10 minutes earlier. But it wasn’t until the 89th minute that Freiburg fans were able to really celebrate as Nils Petersen arrived at the back post to score from Karim Guede’s cross.
Elsewhere, Wolfsburg dashed Borussia Dortmund’s hopes of a Europa League spot in a 2-1 win. Just three points separate 18th from 14th in the Bundesliga relegation zone, with Paderborn, Hamburg and Stuttgart in the deepest trouble.
Here are the results from Germany:
Augsburg 1, Hannover 2
Leverkusen 2, Hoffenheim 0
Freiburg 2, Bayern Munich 1
Hertha Berlin 0, Frankfurt 0
Mainz 2, Koln 0
Schalke 1, Paderborn 0
Stuttgart 2, Hamburg 1
Wolfsburg 2, Dortmund 1
Werder Bremen 0, Borussia M’gladbach 2
ITALIAN SERIE A
Inter Milan may have to deal without a European competition next season after Juventus claimed a 2-1 victory at the San Siro.
After providing the crucial goal for his club in the Champions League during the week, Alvaro Morata popped up again to hand Juventus the winning goal in the 83rd minute. Morata’s low shot was bobbled by Samir Handanovic and settled inside the near left post.
Mauro Icardi combined with Marcelo Brozovic to open the scoring for Inter just nine minutes into the game. Claudio Marchisio brought the Italian champions equal by converting a 42nd minute penalty kick.
Elsewhere, Santiago Gentilletti took Lazio above heated rivals Roma in a 1-0 road win against Sampdoria. Roma can take second place back with a win tomorrow, though both Rome clubs are assured of a Champions League spot.
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Three teams remain in the hunt for the final Champions League spot in Ligue 1, with Monaco holding the strongest advantage.
A 2-0 win against Metz has Monaco two points ahead of both Marseille and Saint Etienne in third. Bernardo Silva struck first for Monaco just before halftime, before Valere Germain sealed the win with two minutes to go.
That kept Monaco ahead in the race for Champions League, as Marseille was also victorious, 4-0 against Lille. Andre-Pierre Gignac struck just two minutes into the game as Marseille cruised.
Saint Etienne also won, 2-1 on the road against Evian. A converted penalty from Max-Alain Gradel with eight minutes left provided the victory.
Here are all of the results from France:
Bastia 1, Caen 1
Evian 1, Saint-Etienne 2
Guingamp 2, Toulouse 1
Lille 0, Marseille 4
Lyon 1, Bordeaux 1
Monaco 2, Metz 0
Montpellier 1, PSG 2
Nantes 1, Lorient 1
Nice 2, Lens 1
Reims 1, Rennes 0