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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 29, 2006

Lyon minus nine players against Paris St Germain

LYON, July 29 (Reuters) - French champions Olympique Lyon will take the field without nine first choice players against Cup winners Paris St Germain in the Champions' Trophy on Sunday.

Among those missing for the fixture between the league and Cup champions are goalkeeper Gregory Coupet, defender Eric Abidal and Brazil midfielder Juninho.

They are among the nine France or Brazil players who have just returned from holiday after the World Cup.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, whose team have lifted the Trophy in the past four years, said the match was still something more than an exhibition.

'It would be a nuisance to start the season with a defeat,' Aulas said. 'We would have excuses but it would be a problem.

'There is a trophy to win and when your name is Lyon, your goal is always to win trophies.'

But PSG, who beat arch-rivals Olympique Marseille in last season's French Cup final, made it clear they did not regard Sunday's match as too meaningful.

'This is a super warmup game, a bit like an Intertoto Cup tie,' said PSG coach Guy Lacombe.

Goalkeeper Mickael Landreau, who has joined the Paris club from Nantes, was a bit more enthusiastic than his coach.

'We're playing the champions on their turf and that makes it special,' he said. 'If this can be another title for the club, we'll take it.'

The Ligue 1 season kicks off next Friday with Lyon visiting Nantes. Paris St Germain host promoted Lorient the next day.