Lorient and Bordeaux seek final-day success
By I. Holyman
FC Lorient head into the final game of the season on Saturday knowing even victory over Girondins de Bordeaux might not be enough to save them from finishing in the bottom three.
FC Lorient - Girondins de Bordeaux
Lorient were four points adrift of safety rooted at the bottom of the table at the halfway point in the season, but have picked up 20 points in the second half of the campaign to give themselves hope of pulling off an unlikely escape.
Bernard Casoni's men remain in real danger, though, having picked up just four points in their last five games, a run that has left them third-from-bottom and a point behind Caen and Dijon in the places directly ahead of them.
While Caen travel to Paris Saint-Germain, Dijon head to Toulouse, and Lorient could do with some good news from those stadiums, but midfielder Arnold Mvuemba called on his team-mates to ensure they fulfill their part of the equation.
WATCH: Lorient swat aside Metz
"We have to play this match to win. To do that, we have to put in everything required: be compact and play our game. We have to be consistent for 90 minutes. That's what we lacked against Angers in particular. We're at home, we know the stadium, the pitch is good…I hope everyone will stand up to be counted," said the former Olympique Lyonnais man.
"We have to focus on ourselves, on what we have to do. We'll see what happens in the game. The most important thing is to do everything to win the game. That will ensure our top-flight survival."
Key trio out
Should Lorient fail to climb out of the bottom three, they will have to hope SC Bastia, who go to Olympique de Marseille, and AS Nancy Lorraine, who host AS Saint-Etienne, remain behind them to go into the promotion/relegation play-off with the third-placed team in Ligue 2.
The hosts will be without three significant players in their attempt to stay up. Defender Michael Ciani is suspended, while Sylvain Marveaux (thigh) and top scorer Benjamin Moukandjo (adductors) are sidelined by injury.
That trio of absences could be significant against a Bordeaux side who also have something to play for in the remaining 90 minutes of the campaign. Jocelyn Gourvennec's men come into the match a point and a place outside the top five, and so are not guaranteed a place in the UEFA Europa League next season.
WATCH: Bordeaux beat Lorient in Week 12
Sixth place may be enough to qualify for European football should PSG, who will play in the UEFA Champions League next season, beat Angers SCO in the Coupe de France final on 27 May, thereby freeing up another qualifying place in the league table.
Given there is no guarantee of that, Bordeaux, who have already beaten Lorient in Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France this season, must play to win.
"This match is a final. It's the final straight, the team has to dig deep to bring back the three points," pointed out full-back Youssouf Sabaly, who knows exactly what to expect from Lorient having faced relegation battles during his time at Evian-Thonon-Gaillard.
"They're going to give the best of themselves to try and get the best result possible. In this kind of match, you only look for one thing: victory. I went through that when I played at Evian. Those matches were approached as if they were finals."
Lorient: Lecomte; Moreira, Peybernes, Lautoa, Le Goff; Cabot, Mvuemba, Wakaso, Philippoteaux; Aliadière, Waris
Bordeaux: Carrasso; Sabaly, Jovanovic, Lewczuk, Contento; Vada, Toulalan, Sankharé; Malcom, Laborde, Ounas
>> PRESS KIT: FC Lorient - Girondins de Bordeaux