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By ESPN Staff

Rivals hit out at champions Lyon

Olympique Lyon, whose prolonged Ligue 1 domination has recently come under threat on the pitch, are also facing off-the-field attacks from their rivals.

The seven-times champions, who travel to Nice on Sunday, are one point ahead of Girondins Bordeaux at the top of the table with third-placed Paris St Germain a further three points adrift.

In a heated exchange this week, St Etienne said they were denied an obvious penalty in last weekend's derby with Lyon.

"Allegations (by coach Alain Perrin) are all the more surprising after he said last year on OLTV (Lyon's TV channel) 'refereeing mistakes do not bother me but when a referee is a bit more laid-back with less strong teams it annoys me'," the champions said on their website on Monday.

The St Etienne boss was in charge at Lyon when he made those comments to OLTV.

Perrin's new club reacted by saying: "There should be more serenity and more objectivity (from Lyon), it is not very noble".

On Wednesday, Olympique Marseille president Pape Diouf said there was a paranoid pattern in Lyon posting multiple statements on their website.

"This habit of crying wolf is annoying," Diouf told the sports daily L'Equipe.

Last week Marseille striker Bakari Kone broke his cheekbone after colliding with Lyon keeper Hugo Lloris in a French Cup tie, prompting Diouf's club to evoke memories of the infamous clash between France's Patrick Battiston and West Germany's Harald Schumacher in the 1982 World Cup.

"He (Lloris) could have taken the ball without lifting the knee and smashing it into the face," said Marseille sports director Jose Anigo.

Lyon responded by saying: "The injury of the Marseille striker is obviously regrettable, as all injuries are, but nothing can justify such comments.

"It is particularly heinous to refer to ... Patrick Battiston in 1982 as the circumstances are incomparable."

Attention shifts back to the pitch on Saturday when PSG travel to improving Nantes while Marseille, in fourth, entertain Bordeaux on Sunday.

Fifth-placed Stade Rennes go to bottom club Le Havre on Saturday hoping to jump back into the top three.

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