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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug, 27, 2007

Preview: Lorient target top spot in Ligue 1

PARIS, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Lorient have an opportunity to become surprise leaders of Ligue 1 when they entertain Valenciennes on Tuesday, the Brittany side knowing a victory would allow them to leapfrog top dogs Nancy in the standings.

Second in the table on 11 points from five matches, Lorient have made an impressive start to the campaign with a victory over six-times champions Olympique Lyon and a 2-2 draw at Girondins Bordeaux on Saturday among their better results.

A triumph against Valenciennes would take them top as Nancy's game at Toulouse has been postponed due to the home side's Champions League qualifying commitments on Tuesday.

"We need to keep it simple sometimes but I have been impressed by our ability to control some of our games," Lorient coach Christian Gourcouff told reporters after the Bordeaux game.

Valenciennes, however, will be no pushovers. The northern side have also enjoyed a good start this season and lie fifth in the standings, one point adrift of Lorient.

Olympique Lyon, who returned to winning ways on Sunday with a laboured 1-0 victory over arch-rivals St Etienne after two consecutive league defeats, travel to struggling Sochaux.

The defending champions, who experienced their worst Ligue 1 start in 10 years, are 10th on six points from four matches.

Monaco, under the guidance of former Bordeaux coach Ricardo, eased to a 3-1 victory over Le Mans on Saturday and they will also have an eye on top spot when they travel to Lille.

The principality side, who have scored 10 goals in their opening five games, will take over the league lead if they win and Lorient fail to beat Valenciennes.

Troubled Paris St Germain, one of the four sides who have yet to win, travel to Le Mans while Olympique Marseille, who snatched their first victory of the season with a 2-1 win at Caen on Saturday, need to consolidate that result against Nice.

However, the Azurean side will have to make do without France striker Djibril Cisse, who picked up a groin injury at Caen.

New RC Lens coach Jean-Pierre Papin, who replaced Guy Roux on Sunday, will have to wait to make his debut as the northern side's game against Caen has been postponed due to their opponent's involvement in a UEFA Cup tie on Thursday.

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