Football: Metz win promotion and dream return to Ligue 1

PARIS (AFP) - Metz won promotion back to the French top flight on Saturday with a 3-0 win at Auxerre that capped a fabulous turnaround for the club.

The club from eastern France were relegated from Ligue 1 in 2007 and hit rock bottom at the end of the 2011-12 season when they were relegated to the third-tier National level.

But they climbed back into the second division last year and they have been top of that since late last year.

"I think that this is the reward of an enormous project put into place two years ago by the president Bernard Serin, that involved everyone," said delighted Metz coach Albert Cartier.

"Everyone felt more than than just involved, but really implicated, and everyone had a role to play and I think that after today we're going to keep fighting and go after the Ligue 2 championship," he added.

"We're really happy for the club, for FC Metz, who after suffering and living through a nightmare have come back to reach the highest levels of French football.

"I'm really happy for the club and those who support us, the volunteers, the academy that we've got who have put in a tremendous effort, our partners and the players because they were the ones who did the work on the pitch," added Cartier.

The win over Auxerre moved them 10 points clear of second-placed Lens and guaranteed Ligue 1 football next season.

Nancy are in third spot, a further four points back and currently clinging to the final promotion spot but just one point above Caen and Niort.

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