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Football | France

Beckham could make debut v Marseille

David Beckham could finally make his French league debut on Sunday when Paris Saint-Germain host Marseille in the country's biggest rivalry.

PSG have been training in Clairefontaine, where the France squad practices before their international matches, instead of using the usual Camp des Loges.

Marseille are in third place, five points behind PSG, but would get back in the title race with a victory at Parc des Princes.

PSG conceded three goals for the first time in the league this season by losing at Sochaux 3-2 last weekend. That defeat ended a 13-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

"After the loss at Sochaux, we are of course going to be more motivated than ever," PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti told PSG TV. "This is a 'clasico.' It is a different game. Everyone is focused on this. Every time it's difficult, this kind of game."

PSG may have the more famous players, like Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Marseille plans to compensate with its grit and physical game.

"We look forward to that match with some aggression," Marseille midfielder Andre Ayew said. "We must rely on the quality of our game and our commitment. The danger would be to put some pressure on us. We must stay relaxed. We will have to be physically ready for duels. There will be a lot of commitment."

Marseille will miss striker Jordan Ayew through suspension and midfielder Benoit Cheyrou through injury. Up front, they will rely on Andre-Pierre Gignac, Andre Ayew and Foued Kadir.

"It's a team that can be defeated as we saw against Sochaux," Andre Ayew said. "It's not impossible to beat them since other teams did it. If we put up a great performance and have a bit of luck, anything can happen."

Despite the fierce rivalry between the two teams, Andre Ayew said that PSG was not just a collection of stars.

"They play more as a unit than before," Ayew said. "Little by little, their team has started to gel. I think it's a team that can do a lot damage both in France and Europe."

PSG drew 2-2 with Marseille at Stade Velodrome in October. Ibrahimovic and Gignac scored two goals each.

If PSG lose at home, second-place Lyon could go level on points at the top of the league with a victory over Lorient on Sunday.

"We can hope to finish on the podium and tease PSG," Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said. "The season is not over yet."

Lyon restored some pride with a 4-0 win at Bordeaux last weekend. They still remain serious title contenders despite loaning four players, including Brazilian winger Michel Bastos, during the transfer window.

Also on Saturday, it's: Rennes v Sochaux; Ajaccio v Lille; Evian v Montpellier; Nancy v Saint-Etienne; Troyes v Bastia; and Valenciennes v Toulouse.

On Sunday, Bordeaux host Brest.


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