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Football | France

Lyon enter PSG's den



Ligue One leaders Lyon take a depleted squad to the capital for Sunday's top of the table clash against Paris Saint-Germain having seen their lead slashed to three points following the 1-1 draw against rock bottom Nancy.

Coach Remi Garde was left fuming by a refereeing decision that denied them a clear penalty at the Stade Gerland in midweek.

To add insult to injury, Anthony Reveillere and Alexandre Lacazette have joined a growing list of walking wounded during a week that began so brightly with a 1-0 win at Saint Etienne.

PSG meanwhile were able to sit back in comfort and watch the Lyon juggernaut knocked off track and a return to domestic form for Carlo Ancelotti's men reached a new high last Tuesday when Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped himself to a hat-trick during the 4-0 rout at a Valenciennes side who were previously unbeaten at home.

The Sweden captain has been the player of the season so far in France and his league-leading goal tally now stands at 17 which is seven clear of Lyon's French international Bafetimbi Gomis.

"We have to recover from our efforts, but we also have to hope to get back some of our injured players so we can have the most competitive team possible for Sunday," Gomis said.

"We lost two more players (Reveillere and Lacazette), like we did against Saint-Etienne (Clement Grenier and Yoann Gourcuff)."

Marseille trail PSG only on goal difference after they bounced back from their 3-0 defeat at home to Lorient last Sunday with a 2-1 win at Bastia which was fuelled by goals from French winger Mathieu Valbuena and Ghana international Andre Ayew.

Elie Baup's men have fared better on their travels and have won six from nine away from the Velodrome and a trip to Toulouse should be of no major concern.

"Our results away from home speak for themselves. But we can't keep giving ourselves mountains to climb all season long," said 57-year-old Baup as he gets set to face one of his former clubs.

Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda extended his contract this week until 2016 and explained that a team meeting following the Lorient setback helped to forge team spirit.

"Our meeting on Monday was positive and it was good that a lot of things were said," said the Zaire-born 'keeper.

Two straight wins for Christian Gourcuff's Lorient side have lifted the Britanny team up to fourth spot, but an away defence that has leaked 16 goals in eight matches will need to be tighter for Sunday's trip to Saint-Etienne.

Defending champions Montpellier are quietly climbing the table after a woeful start to their domestic and European campaigns and a 2-1 win at Brest on Wednesday will give them further confidence for the visit of Bastia.

Fixtures:

Friday:

Rennes v Valenciennes

Saturday:

Toulouse v Marseille

Montpellier v Bastia

Troyes v Ajaccio

Sochaux v Brest

Nice v Evian

Reims v Lille (1900)

Sunday:

Nancy v Bordeaux

Saint-Etienne v Lorient

Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon

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