RC Lens Secure UEFA Champions League Spot with Victory over Auxerre
Lens concluded their exceptional season with a total of 84 points, which is the highest points tally the club has ever achieved in Ligue 1.
In a thrilling encounter, RC Lens defeated Auxerre 3-1 to clinch their place in the UEFA Champions League. Lens finished the Ligue 1 season in second place with an impressive record of 25 wins, 9 draws, and 4 losses, accumulating a total of 84 points, just one behind the eventual champions, Paris Saint-Germain.
The match began with an early goal from Lens’ Alexis Claude-Maurice in the 19th minute, assisted by Lois Openda. Claude-Maurice continued his impressive form by netting another goal just three minutes into the second half, this time assisted by Adrien Thomasson. Auxerre fought back and managed to pull one back in the 71st minute courtesy of M’Baye Niang. However, Lens sealed their victory and confirmed their Champions League berth with a goal from Lois Openda in the 78th minute, assisted by Florian Sotoca.
Alexis Claude-Maurice had an outstanding season for Lens, setting a new personal record by scoring five goals in Ligue 1, all of them coming in 2023. His brace in this match marked the first time he had achieved such a feat in his career.
Loïs Openda also shone brightly for Lens throughout the season, bagging an impressive 21 goals in Ligue 1. His goal tally surpassed the 20-goal mark, a milestone that no Lens player had achieved in a top-flight campaign since Georges Lech in the 1966/67 season.
Lens demonstrated their defensive prowess throughout the season, finishing as the best defensive team in Ligue 1, conceding just 29 goals. This impressive defensive record represented the lowest number of goals conceded by the team in a single campaign.
The victory over Auxerre was the seventh consecutive win for Lens in Ligue 1, matching their best winning streak in the club’s history, previously accomplished in November-December 1956 and February-April 1998. Lens finished the season with 25 wins, nine draws, and four losses, setting a new club record for the most wins in a single campaign and the fewest number of defeats.
On the other hand, Auxerre’s campaign ended in disappointment as they suffered relegation to Ligue 2 after finishing 17th in the table. Their record of 8 wins, 11 draws, and 19 losses accumulated 35 points. This marks the second time in the club’s history that they have been relegated from Ligue 1, with the previous relegation occurring in the 2011/12 season. Remarkably, this is the first time Auxerre has been relegated despite being promoted at the start of the season. The team finished with fewer points only in the 2011/12 season, with 34 points.
Lens concluded their exceptional season with a total of 84 points, which is the highest points tally the club has ever achieved in Ligue 1. Prior to this season, Lens had never surpassed 68 points in the top flight, achieved in the 1997/98 season when they won their only Ligue 1 title and in the 1976/77 season (based on three points for a win).
With their victory over Auxerre, Lens secured their place in the UEFA Champions League, capping off a memorable season for the club. They will now look forward to testing their mettle against Europe’s elite teams in the most prestigious club competition on the continent.