Lyon, Marseille continue battle at the top

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Lyon looks to have a rival as it bids for a sixth straight French league title.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Lyon looks to have a rival as it bids for a sixth straight French league title. The five-time defending champion is level with Marseille on 16 points after six rounds to be five clear of the next closest teams - Nancy, Le Mans and Toulouse. Lille visits Lyon on Saturday having won the two teams' last four clashes - including a 3-1 win to end Lyon's unbeaten start last season. Lyon hasn't beaten Lille in the league since August 2004. "We will have to be ready from the start when we play Lyon," Lille midfielder Mathieu Bodmer told the club's Web site. Lyon winger Florent Malouda fears Lille will be just as tough to beat again. "Lille has kept a level of continuity. First and foremost, it is a team which plays collectively and puts the team before the individual," Malouda said. "They have players like (Peter) Odemwingie, Bodmer, (Jean) Makoun, (Adbul Kader) Keita ... we know them well." They both rely on a solid defence - Lyon has allowed five goals; Marseille only two penalty kicks. Lyon has a much bigger squad and has fielded 23 players this season to Marseille's 17. But Marseille, which is at winless Nantes on Sunday, expects France striker Djibril Cisse to be back next month. Cisse has almost recovered from a broken leg. Marseille president Pape Diouf said Wednesday he expects Cisse to resume training next month and hopes he will play "by the end of October". Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain hopes to continue its recent upturn in form when it hosts Nancy at the Parc des Princes on Saturday. PSG won 2-1 at Monaco last week to seal its first league away win since November 2005. On Wednesday, it won 3-1 at home over Lorient in the League Cup with Pauleta scoring twice. "We confirmed our victory against Monaco, now we must keep this going," Pauleta told the club's Web site. "We need to press on. At PSG, every player must always give his all." Vikash Dhorasoo has been left out of PSG's squad and the France midfielder's future at the club is in doubt. (AP)

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