Football: Late goal clinches title for Bordeaux heady

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BORDEAUX PICKED up on the current fashion in European football by scoring in the last minute of the French league season to confound the forecasters and claim their fifth title.

In a nail-biting finale, Bordeaux sent on an 18-year-old Guinean, Pascal Feindouno, five minutes from time with their match against Paris St Germain level at 2-2 and Marseilles, 1-0 at Nantes, poised to become champions. Feindouno obliged, clinching the title with his first goal for Bordeaux as time ran out.

Saturday's drama meant Bordeaux not only confounded the "experts" who had suggested the title would go to either Marseilles or Monaco, but also exceeded their own expectations of qualifying for the Uefa Cup, in which they reached the final in 1996.

Bordeaux have only two internationals in their side, the France striker Lilian Laslandes and the Yugoslav World Cup defender Nisa Saveljic.

"Our humility is also our strength," said their captain, Michel Pavon, one of five Bordeaux players - all midfielders and strikers - who have been nominated in the best French league XI of the season. "We're not extravagant. As [Rolland] Courbis said, it's the best team that has to win the title and Bordeaux are the best side."

Nuremberg plummeted four places to be relegated after a 2-1 defeat by their fellow strugglers Freiburg in a dramatic finale to the Bundesliga season. Nuremberg, who won promotion last season, slid from 12th to 16th in the 18-strong league and will go down with VfL Bochum and Borussia Monchegladbach, who were already doomed.

A draw would have been enough to save Nuremberg and even a defeat might have seen them escape. But all the other clubs threatened by relegation won their last matches, notably Eintracht Frankfurt, who crushed last year's champions, Kaiserslautern, 5-1 to rise one place to 15th. The Nowegian Jan Aage Fjortoft was their hero as his goal three minutes from time allowed his side to take 15th place on goal difference.

Bayern Munich restored some pride three days after their European Cup final defeat by winning 2-1 at second placed Bayer Leverkusen.

No such drama in Spain, where Barcelona had already wrapped up the title. Their Brazilian striker Rivaldo scored twice as they scored a 3-1 victory over beat Athletic Bilbao, whose coach, Luis Fernandez, was sent off from the bench.

The brace from Rivaldo took him level with Real Madrid's Spanish international, Raul, as leading scoring with 23. Barca's other goal came from the Dutchman Patrick Kluivert. In Saturday night's other match Valencia did their chances of qualifying for next season's Champions' League a power of good with a 4-0 thrashing of Oviedo.

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