Lyon bank on Ligue 1 to revive Champions dream

CHALLENGE:Remy poised to start 10 March     Brest     vs     Bordeaux     Evian TG     vs     Sochaux         Nice     vs     Nancy         Toulouse     vs     Lorient         Valenciennes vs     St.Etienne     Lyon         vs     Lille     11 March     Dijon     vs     PSG     Rennes     vs     Auxerre     Montpellier vs     Caen
Dede Ayew (L) will be leading Marseille’s attack. The New Times, File.
Dede Ayew (L) will be leading Marseille’s attack. The New Times, File.

CHALLENGE:Remy poised to start

10 March    
Brest     vs     Bordeaux     Evian TG     vs     Sochaux         Nice     vs     Nancy         Toulouse     vs     Lorient         Valenciennes vs     St.Etienne     Lyon         vs     Lille    
11 March    
Dijon     vs     PSG     Rennes     vs     Auxerre    
Montpellier vs     Caen

Olympique Lyon, eliminated from the Champions League by APOEL Nicosia on Wednesday, need to regroup immediately if they are to take third place in Ligue 1 and qualify for next season’s competition.

The seven-times champions host Lille on Saturday, trailing the third-placed champions by seven points. Lyon have won only one of their last seven league games.

“It is time to pull ourselves together because there are still a lot of games to play,” Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas told reporters after his side had been beaten on penalties by APOEL Nicosia.

Lyon have always qualified for the Champions League since 2000 but coach Remi Garde said there were no guarantees of continued success.

“Does the (Nicosia) defeat mark the end of a cycle? It might,” he said. “There are others great European clubs who have not played in the Champions League.”

Lille have drawn their last two games and are intent on consolidating their place in the top three.

“Lyon are among our competitors. For them, it is definitely a vital game. The situation will probably be clearer for the two teams after this match”, striker Tulio De Melo told the Lille website (www.losc.fr).

Lille could be without injured keeper Mickael Landreau while centre back Marko Basa is recovering from injury.

Olympique Marseille, who will travel to Inter Milan next Tuesday for their Champions League last 16 return leg, hope they will put an end to their poor form at Ajaccio on Friday.

Marseille are eighth with 39 points from 26 games after they suffered a third consecutive Ligue 1 defeat at Evian TG on Tuesday.

Forwards Loic Remy and Mathieu Valbuena are back from injuries, with Remy poised to start and revitalise a team who have not scored a a goal in the last three Ligue 1 games.

Leaders Paris St Germain travel to lowly Dijon on Sunday, before another away game at strugglers Caen.

The big-spending PSG recorded a comprehensive 4-1 win over another struggler Ajaccio last weekend to regain the Ligue 1 top spot with 55 points, one point ahead of Montpellier.

“Should we handle the next two games well and get as many points as we could, we would show everybody we want to clinch the title”, fullback Christophe Jallet told a news conference this week.

Second-placed Montpellier, who could manage only a last-gasp draw at Dijon last weekend without suspended top scorer Olivier Giroud, play Caen on Sunday.

 

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