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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 22 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 21, 2006

Lyon hope to continue dream start against Lille

PARIS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Unbeaten Olympique Lyon will have the opportunity to open up a nine-point gap over Lille when they host the Northerners in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

Lille slumped to an embarrassing 3-1 home defeat to Toulouse last weekend but Lyon will not be complacent since Claude Puel's side beat them twice in the league last season.

Lyon, en route to their record fifth consecutive title, lost 3-1 at home and were crushed 4-0 at the Lille Metropole Stadium.

'Lille have not changed a lot of things during the close season,' Lyon's France midfielder Florent Malouda told the club's Web site on Wednesday.

'They play like a team and will be keen to make amends for their defeat against Toulouse.'

Lille, who reached the League Cup second round by beating Ligue 2 side Istres 1-0 on Tuesday while Lyon were granted a bye, have all the tools to upset the champions.

Their defensive approach, mixed with a natural talent for counter-attacking, surprised a dominant Lyon last season as Gerard Houllier's team conceded seven goals in the two matches.

Girondins Bordeaux, already seven points off the pace, will have no excuses if they do not beat promoted Troyes, while surprise package Nancy, who are third, visit Paris St Germain buoyed by their midweek League Cup win over Nice.

On Sunday, improving RC Lens, who have won their last two games 3-0, host troubled principality team Monaco, who are fourth from bottom with four points from six games.

Olympique Marseille, who trail Lyon because the five-times champions have scored more goals, travel to struggling Nantes whose coach Serge Le Dizet was sacked on Wednesday after a home League Cup defeat by Toulouse.

Dizet's assistant Georges Eo has taken over but the Canaries, who have just three points, face a daunting task as Marseille have only conceded two goals this season - both from the penalty spot.