Lyon, PSG in Euro scrap, Monaco stare at abyss

Updated: 28 May 2011 11:52 IST

Lyon and Paris Saint Germain go into the final round of French league action on Sunday needing to win, and in the latter's case a slice of luck, in their bid to secure a place in the Champions League.

Lyon, PSG in Euro scrap, Monaco stare at abyss

Paris:

Lyon and Paris Saint Germain go into the final round of French league action on Sunday needing to win, and in the latter's case a slice of luck, in their bid to secure a place in the Champions League.


Lille were confirmed as Ligue 1 champions last week on 73 points, and Marseille claimed the other automatic spot in European club football's showpiece tournament for next season with 67 points.

That leaves the scrap for third spot which would guarantee a spot in the qualifying round.

Lyon currently sit in third on 61, just two ahead of PSG, who play eighth-placed St Etienne away.

To make matters even more interesting, Lyon must travel to Monaco, who occupy the third relegation hotspot, Lens and Arles-Avignon already girding themselves for next season's life in the second division.

For Lyon, the task is simple: a win would guarantee them a place in the Champions League qualifying round.

A similar result would be achieved should PSG fail to win at St Etienne, and also if Lyon drew at Monaco while PSG won but failed to claw back the four-goal deficit between the two clubs.

However, third place would go to PSG if Monaco did their hopes of avoiding relegation and the associated financial fall-out a welcome boost and beat Lyon.

"The team is very aware and focused. Training has been good and spirits are high," said Lyon coach Claude Puel, playing down his team's sketchy away form over the season.

"First of all, we're playing a big match with our destiny in our own hands. We're well placed, in a superior position (to PSG) and we'll stay there. It depends only on us."

Puel also swatted away thoughts of sending Monaco into the second division.

"I'm ignoring that," he said. "I'm Lyon and we must get that 3rd place."

PSG's Mathieu Bodmer, who previously played for Lyon, said: "It's a very exciting challenge. We're the chasing team.

"I know that it's possible even if Lyon have often managed to bag second or third place on the final day."

The relegation dogfight has all kinds of ramifications, and depending on the results, could even see 12th-placed Auxerre go down.

Auxerre, who played in the Champions League last season, are tied on 46 points with Brest and Nice, a point ahead of Valenciennes, Caen and Nancy, with Monaco on 44.

With Lorient sitting in seventh on 49, just five points separate Monaco in 17th and 11 other clubs above them in the 20-team league.

Monaco coach Laurent Banide was blunt in his assessment of what he wanted from his team come Sunday: "There's no other solution but victory.

"I saw 43-44 points as enough to stay up. What's happening has never happened before and so we must do everything to take some more," he said, refusing to look ahead.

"We're not already in the next season. The time to take stock will come. We're in an intense week. We'll give everything to keep our place.

"To ask more of the players, they must have confidence, especially amongst each other. That's what we're seeing now."

Sunday's fixtures (all 1900 GMT)

Arles-Avignon v Sochaux, Bordeaux v Montpellier, Brest v Toulouse, Caen v Marseille, Lille v Rennes, Lorient v Auxerre, Monaco v Lyon, Nancy v Lens, St Etienne v PSG, Valenciennes v Nice



Topics : Football Zlatan Ibrahimovic Marseille Paris SG Lyon
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