PSG looking for uplift at Lorient
After their disappointing UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of FC Barcelona, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain will be confident of bouncing back to winning ways at bottom cub FC Lorient on Sunday night.
FC Lorient - Paris Saint-Germain
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PSG beat five-time European Champions Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of their last 16 tie in Paris last month, but that famous victory was undone in seven incredible minutes at the end of the second leg at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, with Neymar and Sergi Roberto snatching three goals between them to seal a 6-1 win on the night and 6-5 aggregate triumph.
'Players have taken responsibility'
"We didn't play the match we wanted to," lamented coach Unai Emery after the game. "At 3-1, normally, the match should have been over. But in five to ten minutes all our hard work was undone. We have to overcome this and grow. I'm sure other chances like this one will arise. The players have taken responsibility."
The capital club have dished out similar thrashings more than once this season. Indeed, they beat Lorient 5-0 in the reverse fixture in December, with Thomas Meunier scoring one of the goals of the season to open the scoring.
PSG now make the 500-kilometre journey west to Brittany with the distance between the sides in the table rather more significant: Paris are second, with only three points to make up on Ligue 1 leaders AS Monaco; while Lorient prop up the table, some 40 points worse off, and on a five-game losing streak.
Meunier started against Barcelona too, though Ivorian right-back Serge Aurier is expected to come into the side as Emery rings the changes. The Spanish tactician has his hand forced on a number of fronts though, with Angel Di Maria (knock), Thiago Motta (calf) and Adrien Rabiot (illness) all doubts for the trip to the Stade du Moustoir.
Lorient haven't beaten PSG since February 2010, when Marama Vahirua, Kévin Gameiro - who later played for Paris - and Morgan Amalfitano scored to seal a surprise 3-0 win at the Parc des Princes. Arnold Mvuemba started in that game for FCL, but a thigh strain means he is a doubt for Sunday's encounter.
Lorient will be desperate to turn back the clock, with last Sunday's 4-1 defeat to Olympique de Marseille leaving them rooted to the foot of the table, three points behind SC Bastia in 19th and five worse off than Dijon FCO, who currently occupy the relegation play-off spot.
'One step forward, two back'
"We made life difficult for ourselves from the start," said Les Merlus' coach Bernard Casoni at his post-match press conference. "It had been five matches since we'd conceded from a corner, we're usually good at that, and this time, we virtually scored for them ourselves. Psychologically, it was tough on the players. We keep taking one step forward and then two back."
Lorient aren't helped by the state of their injury list. As well as Mvuemba, fellow midfielders Walid Mesloub (groin), Jimmy Cabot (torn ACL) and Maxime Barthelmé (ankle) are unavailable.
Lorient: Lecomte; Moreira, Ciani, Peybernes, Le Goff; Philippoteaux, Wakaso, Mvuemba, Marveaux (c); Jeannot, Moukandjo
PSG: Areola; Meunier, Marquinhos, Silva (c), Kurzawa; Pastore, Rabiot, Nkunku; Draxler, Cavani, Di Maria
>> PRE-MATCH STATS/HEAD-TO-HEAD