MONTPELLIER COACH RENE GIRARD hailed his side after their controversial breakthrough Ligue 1 title victory on Sunday.
John Utaka made history by striking two goals against Auxerre in a 2-1 win to keep Montpellier three points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain on the season’s final day, despite the French giants’ 2-1 triumph over Lorient.
Proceedings at Stade de-l’Abbe Deschamps was marred with crowd trouble, forcing referee Said Ennjimi to halt the game twice, bringing players off the pitch and into the dressing room.
After the two delays, in which riot police cleared one of the stands, the match proceeded with Utaka striking with 10 minutes to go and seal Montpellier’s maiden title.
“Honestly, I think it’s deserved. It was a huge fight until the end. Montpellier and PSG both had an exceptional season,” the 58-year-old Girard told Canal+.
Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourden also failed to hide his delight at capturing the club’s very first league title, though revealed that the circumstances were tough.
“It’s indescribable. It’s the culmination of a great season. (What) waits for us at Montepellier is enormous,” the goalkeeper told RMCSport.
It was complicated, the match was interrupted… I understand the Auxerre fans. We had to stay focused – it wasn’t easy. Now there will be a month of a holidays.
Montpellier finished the season with 82 points.