Tricky Lyon exam for Monaco

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AS Monaco face a stern test of their Ligue 1 title credentials when they face fellow European semi-finalists Olympique Lyonnais at Parc OL on Sunday.

 Olympique Lyonnais - AS Monaco  


With Paris Saint-Germain having won their game in hand in midweek to pull level on points with the principality side at the top of the table, Monaco, who still have a game in hand at home to AS Saint-Etienne, can ill afford any slip in their final six matches of the campaign.

The principality club were flawless in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League second leg against Borussia Dortmund, sweeping aside the Bundesliga club 3-1 to secure a 6-3 aggregate win and a first semi-final berth in the competition for Monaco since they finished runners-up in 2003/04.

Despite the potential distraction of European football, and their Coupe de France challenge still alive, Monaco's focus will not waver from their ambition of bringing the Ligue 1 crown to the Stade Louis II for the first time since 1999-00.

WATCH: Lyon beat Monaco in the principality

"It's fantastic to be in the semi-finals, it's a first for everyone, but now we have to think about Lyon, the main aim of the club is to win the league," said Bernardo Silva after playing his part in Wednesday's win against Dortmund.

"[On Thursday] morning, we're going to prepare for Lyon, what happened this evening is already in the past. At home we try to press our opponents from the start, we did that this evening. Even if we had a one-goal advantage, we had to go out onto the pitch without fear."

"The league remains the priority," added full-back Benjamin Mendy. "Sometimes it's not the best team that wins, but over the two games we really gave a good account of ourselves. It'll give us strength for Ligue 1. The main thing is Ligue 1."

Of all their remaining fixtures, there is little doubt the trip to Parc OL is the most perillous in Monaco's run-in.

WATCH: Lyon tear Monaco apart last season

Even more so than simply on paper, Lyon pose a major threat as they have proven in recent meetings between the pair. Monaco have not beaten the seven-time champions in Ligue 1 since March 2014, and will have painful memories of their last trip to face OL.

Locked together on 62 points with Lyon in second and Monaco third, a place in the Champions League group stage was the prize for the winner when they met in the penultimate game of the 2015-16 season. Bruno Génésio's men very emphatically clinched second place with a 6-1 win in which Alexandre Lacazette scored a hat-trick.

OL are the only team to have won at Monaco's Stade Louis II this season, and showed their character as well as their talent in coming through a gripping penalty shoot-out in Istanbul on Thursday to claim a place in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals at Besiktas' expense.

"It was a stressful evening, there were the five penalties scored on either side. Anthony [Lopes] made two stops and Max finished the job," said Corentin Tolisso, who netted his spot-kick before captain Maxime Gonalons dealt the decisive blow from twelve yards.

"Now we have to go all the way. You could see that we're extremely solid. We were 50 representatives of OL against 40,000 representatives of Besiktas and we came out as winners, we can be very proud of ourselves."

The win may have come at a cost though: Alexandre Lacazette limped out of the game with a hamstring problem that means OL's leading scorer, who has 24 goals this season is a doubt to feature in the game.

Probable teams

Lyon: Lopes; Rafael, Yanga-Mbiwa, Diakhaby, Rybus; Ferri, Gonalons, Darder; Cornet, Depay, Valbuena

Monaco: Subasic; Dirar, Glik, Jemerson, Raggi; Silva, Fabinho, Bakayoko, Lemar; Falcao, Germain



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