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Sinking Pirates eager to grab shot at redemption

By ESPN Staff

Lille look to keep title race alive

Lille boss Rudi Garcia believes the Ligue 1 title race is still wide open especially if his side take all three points from Montpellier on Sunday.

Third-placed Lille are five points behind leaders Montpellier with two games remaining after an impressive eight wins from their last nine matches.

Les Dogues travel to the Stade de la Mosson knowing the pressure lies firmly on Montpellier's shoulders, with only them and second-placed Paris St Germain able to ruin their title dreams.

''Now that we're assured of at least third place, our appetite is growing,'' Garcia said. ''We want to do even better and we'll give all we've got to clinch second place, or even jump right into the lead. What's for sure is that we have what it takes to win in Montpellier.

''I don't know whether a win there will be enough, but any way you cut it, we're only two points behind Paris and if we win on Sunday, we'll take three points off Montpellier. Everything is still possible on the final day. We'll see what happens.''

PSG will be looking to pile on the pressure by claiming all of the points from their home clash against Rennes but midfielder Thiago Motta will miss the game due to suspension.

Things are congested at the other end of the table where a number of teams will be bidding to secure as many points as they can in the remaining two games to avoid relegation.

Sochaux boosted themselves out of the drop zone on Monday thanks to a late 1-0 win over Nancy, leaving Auxerre propping up the table.

Dijon and Brest complete the bottom three, although there are only five points separating eight teams in the lower half of the standings.

Auxerre face a tough trip to Marseille following their 4-2 defeat by Bordeaux, but defender Cedric Hengbart is confident his side can refocus in time for the must-win fixture.

''We must look ahead,'' Hengbart said. ''There are still two days and six points. We have to erase our mistakes and think about scoring goals. We'll have to start over.''

Fellow strugglers Dijon host Toulouse while Brest play Valenciennes.

Brest interim manager Corentin Martins praised goalkeeper Steeve Elana following their 1-1 draw at Lyon and is says it was a welcome boost ahead of the final games.

''It was a good point (against Lyon),'' Martins said. ''We have to take them - we must cling on. Steeve made some beautiful saves. This is something that is good for our confidence.''

Evian, who were promoted to Ligue 1 last year, are safe from the drop and play Nice on Sunday after also hosting Lyon on Thursday night.

Elsewhere, St Etienne travel to Nancy in search of European football next season.

St Etienne are currently sixth but are only three points behind fourth-placed Lyon, and winger Max Gradel believes they have what it takes to make it into the Europa League.

''We want to win our last two games against Nancy and Bordeaux to try to hang on to European qualification,'' he said. ''There are still two games left and we still have a chance to clinch a Europa League qualification.

''We will not hide from it but it is a challenge. If we win our last two games, we will be Europe next season.''

In other games, Sochaux will be looking to record back-to-back wins when they take on Caen while Bordeaux play Lorient.


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