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Chelsea victory hands Lyon automatic Champions League spot

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Lyon FC. PHOTO: PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

Chelsea were not the only ones celebrating their victory over Arsenal in Wednesday’s Europa League final.

Their 4-1 win in Baku was also great news for French club Lyon, who will now go directly into the group stage of next season’s Champions League.

While Arsenal — who finished fifth in the Premier League — needed to win the game in order to return to the Champions League after a two-year absence, Chelsea were already assured of their return to Europe’s top table.

Sarri’s side qualified by virtue of coming third in the Premier League, so the berth on offer to the winner of Europe’s secondary competition instead goes to Lyon.

The French side finished third in Ligue 1, meaning ordinarily they would be required to go through two qualifying rounds to return to the group stage of a competition in which they reached the last 16 this season.

It is the second year running in which Lyon have benefited in such a way – they also came third in Ligue 1 last season but went straight into the group stage after Atletico Madrid won last year’s Europa League and finished second in La Liga.

Lyon have just appointed a new Brazilian management team, with former player Juninho as sporting director and Sylvinho — once of Arsenal — as coach.


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