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Lyon return to happy hunting ground

Publish on 25/01/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Olympique Lyonnais face Amiens SC at the Stade de la Licorne for the second time in four days on Sunday, with Bruno Genesio's side looking for a repeat of their victory in the Coupe de France.

 Amiens SC  -  Olympique Lyonnais

Lyon eased into the last 16 of the Coupe de France on Thursday when they won 2-0 in Picardy with Moussa Dembélé and Léo Dubois on target. Fernando Marçal was sent off on the stroke of half-time, but OL were already two goals up by that point and they held on for the victory. They will go on to face EA Guingamp in the next round early next month.

"We will need to throw in the same ingredients when we go to Guingamp, and try to win this Cup," remarked Dubois, who dedicated his penalty-box finish to Emiliano Sala, with whom he played at FC Nantes last season.

"He would have been there in the box. I dedicate the goal to him. I wanted to show what he showed when he was on the pitch. All my thoughts are with him and his family."

Lyon are now looking for a third win away in Amiens this season, having also triumphed 3-2 at the same venue in the round of 16 of the Coupe de la Ligue just prior to the winter break, with Dembélé also on target in that game.

They also beat Amiens 2-0 at home on the opening weekend of the season, and Genesio's men have their mojo back after their dramatic 2-1 victory in the derby away to AS Saint-Etienne last Sunday, when Dembélé was the hero with a stoppage-time clincher.

"Every match is different. Some of the players who didn't play (on Thursday) will come back in and offer us some freshness. We will come back with our strengths and our convictions," said Genesio as he looked forward to the rematch, as Lyon look to cement their grip on a podium position ahead of Saint-Etienne. Les Verts are a point back in fourth and do not play at Nantes until Wednesday.

With the Brazilian defender Marçal automatically banned, Ferland Mendy can expect to return to the Lyon starting line-up here. Others likely to return to the side include Memphis Depay, Jason Denayer and Houssem Aouar, who scored a 94th-minute winner in this fixture last season.

Konaté returns for struggling Amiens

Amiens are left with only the league to focus on now as they try to pull clear of the relegation zone - Christophe Pélissier's side ended last weekend only a point clear of Dijon FCO having a played game more, before the Burgundy club's crunch home encounter with AS Monaco on Saturday.

They could hardly have been handed a tougher schedule at the start of 2019, with this game coming after defeats at home to Paris Saint-Germain and away to LOSC, the top two. Their only win in their last six games in all competitions came at home to Valenciennes FC of Domino's Ligue 2 in the Coupe de France, and they have won just once in eight Ligue 1 Conforama outings, with that success coming away at bottom side Guingamp.

Nevertheless, Pélissier will make changes to his line-up here after giving some youngsters an opportunity in Thursday's Cup tie, including left-back Sanasi Sy and midfielder Gaoussou Traoré.

"We had five players out there who started the season playing for the reserves in the fifth tier," said Pélissier, who has been in charge since 2014. "Now we need to quickly move on, and Sunday will be totally different."

He added: "We knew that January would be huge, but February will be just as much because there are no easy games in Ligue 1."

The best news to come out of Thursday's game for the home side was the return of Moussa Konaté, who came on as a second-half substitute for his first appearance after three months out with an adductor injury. Scorer of 16 league goals since the start of last season, the Senegalese former FC Sion striker could be key to his team's survival chances.

Probable teams

Amiens: Gurtner; Krafth, Gouano (c), Lefort, Dibassy; Otero, Gnahoré, Blin, Mendoza; Bodmer; Timité

Lyon: Lopes; Dubois, Marcelo, Denayer, Mendy; Ndombele, Aouar; Traoré, Fekir (c), Depay; Dembélé