Football: Lyon bid to bounce back from Cup heartbreak at Lens
Six-time French champions Lyon will bid to consolidate their league lead with an away win against third-from-bottom Lens this weekend.PARIS, January 18, 2008 - Lyon crashed out of the French League Cup midweek, a solitary goal from Japan midfielder Daisuke Matsui ensuring Le Mans' progression to the semi-finals.
But the Ligue 1 champions will travel to Lens buoyed by news that
Brazilian striker Fred wants to stick with the club after he said he had
failed to garner any "good offers".
The bad news for Lyon is that captain Juninho suffered a broken toe in the
defeat to Le Mans and is more than likely to be ruled out of Sunday's league
Hatem Ben Arfa, who missed the Cup disappointment through injury, could
make his comeback at the weekend.
Lens, who lie third from bottom of the league with just 20 points from 19
matches, have a full squad available for the encounter.
Juninho, however, played down the Cup loss and said Lyon would be up for
the Lens showdown.
"We didn't lack desire but concentration (against Le Mans). It was there
for the winning. It's a shame to be knocked out in the quarter-finals of a
competition in which we played the final last season, especially against a
team that included many second-choice players," said the Brazilian.
"But we must not over-dramatise things. We're still in three competitions,"
he said. "We must react, starting on Sunday at Lens.
"We'll have to be careful but if we play at our level, we're capable of
Second-placed Nancy, who face Nice in Sunday's other game - their fifth in
two weeks, will be seeking to bounce back from a 3-0 Cup reverse at home to
Central defender Gerald Cid will likely make his debut for Nice after
signing from English Premier League club Bolton.
On Saturday, a resurgent PSG travel to mid-table rivals Lorient without
Mario Yepes, who received a red card in the Parisian club's 4-0 midweek Cup
win over Valenciennes.
But left-back Sylvain Armand warned that progression in the Cup semi-finals
was not quite the turning point of what has been a disastrous start to the
season for PSG.
"The match against Valenciennes must serve as a reference for the level of
our spirit," Armand said.
"But we have to stay on our toes, we mustn't lose it, just try and carry on
with what we've started."
Bordeaux, behind Nancy on points difference, travel to Le Mans, while
fourth-placed Valenciennes face a tricky trip to Marseille.
In Saturday's other games, Metz host Monaco, Toulouse entertain Caen, Lille
travel to Sochaux, Auxerre play Strasbourg, and Rennes make the trip to St
Lorient v PSG, Metz v Monaco, Toulouse v Caen, Sochaux v Lille, Le Mans v
Bordeaux, Auxerre v Strasbourg, St Etienne v Rennes, Marseille v Valenciennes
Nice v Nancy, Lens v Lyon