This is the ideal scenario to ensure suspense and a boiling atmosphere in Bollaert. Four days before the shock at home against Marseille, the Racing club de Lens, provided the essentials, Tuesday, May 2, by going to win, in the evening, at the Toulouse winners of the Coupe de France (1-0) , in a late match of the 33rd day of Ligue 1.

Only one point will separate the Lensois, third, from the Marseille dolphin when the two teams meet on Saturday with the Champions League in sight. And, why not, a half-open eye on the title of champion of France in the event of complete scuttling of Paris Saint-Germain, leader in trouble with five points ahead of OM.

Under pressure after OM’s victory on Sunday against Auxerre (2-1), the Sang et Or fulfilled their contract by winning on Tuesday, and almost secured the podium, now eight points ahead of Monaco in five days from the end.

The Violets on a cloud at the start of the match

Despite a very good first half hour, on the heels of its victorious Cup final against Nantes (5-1), the TFC concedes a fifth consecutive defeat at home, without too many consequences since its maintenance is almost assured ( 13th with 41 points).

The Toulouse coach, Philippe Montanier, who spent on the Lensois bench from 2018 to 2020, had questioned the programming of the match the day before as to the “sporting fairness” of the race for the C1. Seventy-two hours after the Stade de France, forty-eight hours after the celebrations in the Place du Capitole, the hangover inevitably awaited its players against one of the most intense teams in the championship.

With nine changes in the starting lineup compared to Saturday, the Violets, still on their cloud in a sold-out Stadium to celebrate their heroes, ignored fatigue. Heckled as rarely in recent weeks, the Northerners bent on a curling strike from Vincent Sierro just next door (5th) and two hot chances from Fares Chaïbi (25th and 27th), but they did not break.

Openda still goalscorer

On receiving a cross from Massadio Haïdara, Belgian striker Loïs Openda, already the author of an express hat-trick in the first leg (3-0), even scored his 18th goal of the season on his first real opportunity. This opener had the merit of bringing down Toulouse’s euphoria a little and Racing almost took advantage of it to double the lead, but Openda found the small net (41st) and Seko Fofana the gloves of Maxime Dupé (45th) .

The confrontation between these two future Europeans fell into a false rhythm in the second half, even if Toulouse, carried by their public, pushed to the end to deceive the vigilance of a reassuring Brice Samba at the end of the match.

Much less convincing than ten days ago against Monaco (3-0), Franck Haise’s players missed the break on a too uncrossed header from Florian Sotoca (72nd) and another unsuccessful raid from Openda (82nd), but they will be satisfied with it.

“We were never flamboyant in this match but we knew how to win it and the victory is not illogical, analyzed the northern coach, Frank Haise. We were able to stay strong until the end thanks to our maturity. »

“It’s annoying,” lamented Philippe Montanier. “We did a good half hour and paradoxically that’s when we take the goal. We lack that little extra to do better against the big teams,” he added.

This new defeat against a “big” did not prevent the Toulouse supporters from celebrating once again their first trophy since 1957, officially presented after the meeting. The Lensois “final” will take place on Saturday in Bollaert.