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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 17, 2008

Lyon hope to put cup shock behind them

PARIS, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon may be six points clear at the top of Ligue 1 but they will be taking nothing for granted before visiting strugglers Racing Lens on Sunday. Lyon, chasing a seventh successive title, warmed up for their trip to northern France in worrying fashion, losing 1-0 at unfashionable Le Mans on Wednesday to disappear from the French League Cup in the quarter-finals. 'When you're not able to beat Le Mans, that means you have a problem,' Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas told reporters after the game. Lyon lacked sharpness and France striker Karim Benzema, the league's top scorer with 13 goals, was the only player who looked like threatening. 'We must use this defeat as a lesson for the matches to come,' said Lyon coach Alain Perrin, who accused his players of not trying hard enough. Lens are third from bottom but suggested brighter things to come with a convincing 3-0 League Cup win over Nancy, the team second behind Lyon in the Ligue 1 standings. 'I saw players who were so hungry they wanted to eat the ball and their opponents as well,' said the Lens coach, former France striker Jean-Pierre Papin. 'If we keep that spirit, we can go places.' This season's surprise package Nancy, who appear to be slowing down, could also be tested on Sunday when they visit fifth-placed Nice. The League Cup featured strong performances not only from Lens but also from Paris St Germain, who crushed Valenciennes 4-0 with 10 men. The Parisians, who have scored seven goals in their last two matches, four of them by Ivory Coast Amara Diane, could move into the top half of the table if they win at Lorient on Saturday. Valenciennes could suffer again on Saturday when they visit Olympique Marseille, who will be looking to make amends after exiting the League Cup with a 1-0 defeat by Auxerre. Girondins Bordeaux, level with Nancy on 36 points from 20 games and third on goal difference, are on a good run of form and will want to confirm they are Lyon's most dangerous rivals for the title when they visit Le Mans on Saturday.

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