Football: PSG with nothing to lose in derby clash against Marseille
PSG lie ninth from bottom, just three points off the relegation zone while Marseille are in fifth with five more points
PARIS, February 15, 2008 - PSG face arch-rivals Marseille in French
football's biggest derby this weekend with nothing to lose as the faltering
Parisians bid to improve their mid-table standing.
PSG lie ninth from bottom, just three points off the relegation zone while
Marseille are in fifth with five more points, and pushing Nice for the fourth
Marseille's outspoken president Pape Diouf claimed that Sunday's match
would be "the easiest of the season" for PSG given their role of the underdog.
"In my eyes, this match is a real trap for Marseille because PSG will come
as the outsiders," Diouf said.
"They will make us favourites, like they did in the final of the French
Cup" in 2006 which Marseille lost to PSG, said Diouf, whose team is fresh from
a 3-0 midweek hammering of Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Cup.
Marseille's Belgian coach Eric Gerets preferred not to get dragged into a
game of cat-and-mouse semantics.
"PSG has a lot to lose, as we do," he said. "These stories of favourites
and underdogs really make me laugh."
Diouf admitted that some of the sparkle had been taken out of the fierce
rivalry that surrounds games between two of French football's giants, notably
because "the two clubs are no longer struggling at the top of the league".
Around 2,000 PSG fans are expected at the Stade Velodrome for what will
undoubtedly be a highly-charged atmosphere and Diouf expressed his confidence
that there would be no security issues with home supporters.
League leaders Lyon, seeking a seventh consecutive title, face
eighth-placed Le Mans, a massive 15 points behind in the standings.
Fresh from a flattering 4-1 defeat of Sochaux last weekend, Lyon captain
Juninho has highlighted the individual skills of the squad as the main reason
behind this season's success rather than the overall team performance.
"We showed that our individual qualities were still there but we didn't
offer up a great team performance," admitted the Brazilian after the Sochaux
Bordeaux, flying high in second just four points adrift of Lyon, travel to
Monaco in Sunday's other match bidding to rebound from their 2-1 UEFA Cup away
loss to Anderlecht.
Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc hinted at which areas his team needed to
improve on from that disappointing defeat.
"The quality of our game in the first half was almost non-existant. We were
combative but that's the most basic of things at a high level," he said.
In Saturday's other matches, third-placed Nancy travel to St Etienne, and
Nice will look to consolidate their fourth spot away to Lens.
Bottom club Metz host sixth-placed Valenciennes, while Caen travel to
Sochaux, Lille play Rennes, Auxerre entertain Toulouse, and Strasbourg face an
away game at Lorient.
Le Mans v Lyon, Lens v Nice, Sochaux v Caen, Lille v Rennes, Auxerre v
Toulouse, Metz v Valenciennes, Lorient v Strasbourg, St Etienne v Nancy
Monaco v Bordeaux, Marseille v PSG