METZ, May 17 (Ligue 1) - Already-relegated Metz signed off from Ligue 1 football in style as they edged a seven-goal thriller against 10-man Le Mans on Saturday.
The rock-bottom side made the perfect start thanks to Cedric Barbosa's fourth-minute strike and found themselves three goals up by half-time with efforts from Miralem Pjanic and Babacar Gueye.
When Jean Calve was dismissed in the 40th minute, just six minutes after stepping on to the pitch, it seemed as though the floodgates were about to open.
However, Le Mans fought back after the break and almost draw level in the first 10 minutes thanks to Tuilio De Melo and Pascal Delhommeau's own goal.
Vincent Bessat sealed the victory seven minutes from time although Ludovic Baal's strike seconds later set up a nervy few minutes, but the visitors could not complete a remarkable comeback.
Metz almost went in front with less than a minute on the clock but Le Mans keeper Yoann Pele pushed Daniel Gygax's effort on to a post and away to safety.
The hosts took the lead three minutes later as Gueye crossed to Barbosa for a simple tap-in.
Pjanic doubled Metz's lead eight minutes later thanks to Gueye once again, who surged into the area before setting up Pjanic whose clever shot sent Pele the wrong way.
Gueye deservedly got his name on the scoresheet just after the half-hour mark as he latched onto Barbosa's through ball before sending a superb shot past Pele.
Things went from bad to worse for Le Mans when Calve received his marching orders for a bad tackle on Barbosa five minutes from half-time.
But after a fine first-half performance the hosts collapsed after the break.
First a goalmouth scramble following Koffi Romaric's free-kick ended with De Melo firing into an empty goal and minutes later Delhommeau deflected Mathieu Coutadeur's effort past his own keeper.
Metz grabbed another goal in the 83rd minute as the ever-dangerous Gueye released Bessat who scored with a low shot.
The visitors reduced the deficit seconds later when Gervinho picked out an unmarked Baal who slotted into an empty net.