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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 30, 2007

Ligue 1: Lyon in fighting mood after dismal start

PARIS, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Six-times French champions Olympique Lyon will host Le Mans on Saturday determined to prove their poor start to the Ligue 1 campaign was just a blip.

'Now we need to take three points at home to set the record straight', Lyon coach Alain Perrin told reporters after his team recorded their first away victory of the season - a 2-1 win at Sochaux on Wednesday./news/story?id=458406&cc=

'Winning away is important but I'm convinced we can still improve and notably score more goals.'

Lyon, who also beat neighbours St Etienne 1-0 at home on Sunday, have moved up to ninth, four points behind joint leaders Nancy and Monaco.

'If we beat Le Mans it will look okay,' said Perrin, who is hoping to guide his team to a seventh consecutive title.

Lyon fans had been stunned by two consecutive away defeats to Toulouse and Lorient, while long-term injuries sustained by France goalkeeper Gregory Coupet and Brazil defender Cris gave them further cause for concern.

On a brighter note, young French striker Karim Benzema looks set for a prolific season after knocking in four goals so far.

Monaco, with 13 points from six games, share the lead with surprise package Nancy and visit fourth-placed Girondins Bordeaux on Saturday in one of the highlights of the weekend programme.

The match will be special for Brazilian coach Ricardo, who joined Monaco from Bordeaux during the close season.

The other big game is on Sunday with Paris St Germain, who won their first match of the season by beating Le Mans 2-0 during the week, entertaining arch-rivals Olympique Marseille at the Parc des Princes.

Marseille were predicted to be the team most likely to end Lyon's dominance but have failed to live up to expectations.

An embarrassing 2-0 home defeat by Nice on Wednesday sent the former European champions to 14th place and heaped the pressure on coach Albert Emon.