Football: Nancy set to pounce as Lyon, Marseille eye key Euro ties
Nancy counting on getting their French league title bid back on track
PARIS, Dec 7, 2007 (AFP) - Nancy will be counting on getting their French
league title bid back on track Saturday as Champions League hopefuls Lyon and
Marseille have their eyes firmly fixed on key European ties.
After suffering just their second loss of the season at Le Mans at the
weekend, Nancy were lucky to grab a 1-1 draw at Toulouse on Wednesday.
Sitting second, they need a win to keep in touch with champions Lyon who
are five points ahead with 37 points after 16 games.
But Pablo Correa's side face a stiff test against Valenciennes, who are in
fifth position despite having taken just five points on their travels.
Valenciennes coach Antoine Kombouare warned that his side wanted revenge
following their 1-0 loss at Nancy last season.
"I honestly couldn't care less about the standings right now. All I know is
that at Nancy we'll be looking for revenge," said Kombouare.
"That match really sticks in my throat. It's surely the worst that I've had
to swallow since I've been here."
Six-time champions Lyon travel to Caen after failing in their bid to
postpone the game ahead of Wednesday's Champions League key clash with Rangers.
Coach Alain Perrin admitted that their line-up in Normandy would be taken
with an eye on the Rangers tie, although midfielder Fabio Santos (tendonitis)
and centre-forward Fred (adductor) are both sidelined.
Swiss international defender Patrick Muller is another casualty and is
expected to be out for six months with a knee injury, while Gregory Coupet is
training again after his summer knee operation but is not ready to take his
place back in goal.
Perrin said: "The match at Glasgow is very important but it shouldn't
overshadow preparations for Caen. There would be nothing better than to have a
good match at Caen to prepare for a date like that of Glasgow.
"I plan to shake up the team a bit. There are still places up for grabs for
Marseille will also be looking to lay the groundwork for their Champions
League tie against Liverpool when they host neighbouring Monaco who are set
for another southern derby after last week's 1-1 draw at Nice.
Despite being unbeaten in their last four games Marseille are still
dangerously near the drop zone, and they face a tough task against Monaco,
just four points ahead of them, but unbeaten in their last five games.
Eric Gerets' side suffered six injuries during their 1-1 draw at Lille but
he is hopeful that Mamadou Niang (hip) and Karim Ziani (knee) will be fit
although Samir Nasri (ankle) looks set to be sidelined.
"We're not taking any players who are not 100 percent because it will be an
intense match against Monaco," said Gerets.
Midtable Lens will be looking to maintain their winning momentum against
visiting Le Mans who are fourth with the second best forward line in the
league despite having one of the worst defensive records.
Elsewhere, Sochaux desperately need a result at Lorient, while Toulouse who
are now seven games without a win host Lille; Rennes travel to Strasbourg and
Metz visit St Etienne.
On Sunday, third-placed Bordeaux travel to Nice, while floundering PSG
desperately need a result at relegation-rivals Auxerre.
Saturday (all times 19:00GMT unless stated)
Marseille v Monaco (16:10); AS Nancy v Valenciennes; Caen v Lyon; Lens v Le
Mans; Lorient v Sochaux; St Etienne v Metz; Strasbourg v Rennes; Toulouse v
Nice v Bordeaux (17:00); Auxerre v PSG (19:55)