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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 22, 2009

Ligue 1 giants set for Coupe de France clash

A mouthwatering clash between Lyon and Marseille will be the undoubted highlight of the Coupe de France last 32, should the French champions avoid the banana skin of Concarneau in their rescheduled last-64 tie.

Les Gones' match with the amateur side is the only last-64 game yet to be played, the original fixture having been cancelled at the start of the month because of a frozen pitch.

The cup's organising committee saw it fit to rearrange the match for this weekend, when the competition's last 32 gets into full swing.

Lyon are expected to cruise past Concarneau, in a match being held in Grenoble, to set up the tie with fellow Ligue 1 giants Marseille.

That game will be played next Wednesday. By then, the rest of the last 32 will have been wrapped up.

Guingamp are the first team to have already qualified for the last 16, having beaten Brest 2-0 in extra time on Tuesday.

There are two matches on Friday, an all-Ligue 2 affair between AC Ajaccio and Vannes OC, who are through to the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue, as well as Lille's trip to Dunkerque.

There are three all-Ligue 1 ties in the last 32, not counting the potential Lyon-Marseille match.

Arguably the most interesting will be Sunday's Cote d'Azur derby between Monaco and Nice at the Stade Louis II.

Nice have already shown their cup credentials this season - they will take on Vannes in that Coupe de la Ligue semi - and they will be looking to add to the woes of their neighbours, who are without a win in Ligue 1 since the end of November.

Elsewhere, Le Havre host Le Mans on Sunday while the other battle of the top-flight clubs sees St Etienne play Rennes away on Saturday.

While Rennes are flying high at the top of Ligue 1, Les Verts are struggling at the other end of the table and are just three points above the relegation zone.

They will see the cup as a welcome distraction, just as they have the UEFA Cup, in which they have qualified for the Round of 32.

"It will be a very difficult game against a team who are really in form," said St Etienne goalkeeper Jeremie Janot.

"But the cup is different to the championship. In a one-off match, it's the side who wants it most, who has more determination, that goes through."

There are seven other ties on Saturday, with Toulouse, Caen and Lorient the Ligue 1 sides involved.

Much attention will be focused on Toulouse's trip to Schirrhein, the tournament's rank outsiders.

Schirrhein hail from the France's seventh division - the Excellence League of the Alsace region - and they picked up a fairytale win over Clermont in the last 64.

Lorient host Tours and Caen visit Boulogne-sur-Mer.

On Sunday, amateur club Grande-Synthe entertain Grenoble and Paris St Germain go to GFCO Ajaccio.

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