Lyon looking to roar past Lorient
Olympique Lyonnais are refusing to give up on the third and final UEFA Champions League qualifying place, with resurgent FC Lorient next on the menu as Les Gones chase down the 13-point gap on OGC Nice.
Olympique Lyonnais - FC Lorient
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Lyon face Nice at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais on the final day of the season in a game that could yet prove to be the difference between third and fourth. Whilst still mathematically possible, such an outcome would depend on something of a capitulation from Les Aiglons.
OL did at least win their rescheduled game in hand from Week 16 on Wednesday, beating FC Metz 3-0 at the Stade Saint-Symphorien with goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Jordan Ferri and Corentin Tolisso, and coach Bruno Génésio was relieved his side tightened their grip on fourth.
"We had an opportunity tonight to widen the gap between us and Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux and Marseille," he said at his post-match press conference. "Mission accomplished. Now we need to keep hoping that it will be a final against Nice at the Parc OL on the last day of the season, even though it looks complicated and very difficult. But in football, you never know.
Memphis to play?
Lacazette's goal was his 24th in the league this term, moving him to within three of the division's top scorer - Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani. The France striker may be rested for Lorient's visit with Génésio keeping half an eye on OL's Europa League quarter-final first leg clash with Besiktas on Thursday, but with Memphis Depay ineligible in midweek, the Netherlands winger is likely to start here.
Lyon have won seven of their last eight home games, and have scored 17 in their previous four fixtures at the Parc OL. Their recent balance against Lorient is surprising, however, especially given the 26-point gap between the sides in the table. In their last six games, there have been two draws and two wins for each side.
The reverse fixture was a 1-0 win for Les Merlus in Week 7, and recent form suggests FCL could cause an upset. Having lost six games before the most recent international break, Bernard Casoni's men have hit a rich vein of form, beating AS Nancy Lorraine 3-2 and SM Caen 1-0 to lift themselves from the foot of the table.
"It's a deserved victory," said Casoni of the Caen game, in which Benjamin Moukandjo scored to separate the sides. "I liked the attitude of my players. We were motivated, but very measured. The fans also responded. It's important to have them behind us. We're not going to catch fire, but it raises morale."
Moukandjo has now scored ten goals in 21 games, and is certain to lead the line against OL. Youngster Jimmy Cabot, who scored the winning goal in the reverse fixture, is pushing for start, with Romain Philippoteaux also an option to play off the Cameroon striker.
Lyon: Lopes; Jallet, Mammana, Diakhaby, Rafael; Gonalons (c), Tolisso, Ferri; Ghezzal, Fekir, Depay
Lorient: Lecomte (c); Moreira, Peybernes, Ciani, Le Goff; Marveaux, Mvuemba, Lautoa, Moukandjo; Waris, Aliadière
>> PRE-MATCH STATS/HEAD-TO-HEAD
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