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Ligue 1 Preview: Ibrahimovic test for Lille as Saint-Etienne seek to pounce

9 May 2014 14:44

Saint-Etienne hope the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic can help keep their UEFA Champions League dreams alive on Saturday.

Lille lead Saint-Etienne by five points heading into the penultimate round of Ligue 1 fixtures, but Rene Girard's team face a daunting examination at home to Paris Saint-Germain before a trip to Lorient on the final day.

Saint-Etienne, for their part, are at a Nantes side with nothing to play for on Saturday and finish their campaign at home to rock-bottom Ajaccio.

PSG secured a second straight crown in midweek, but they still have plenty to play for.

Victory at Lille would see them tie the record for the most wins in a Ligue 1 campaign and set an all-time best points total, surpassing the 84 Lyon registered in 2005-06.

PSG's best hope of achieving that result is Ibrahimovic. After recovering from a hamstring injury, the extravagantly talented Swede is set for his first start in more than a month in his pursuit of further goal-scoring feats.

Lille, who boast the division's joint-best defensive record alongside PSG, are unbeaten in 13 league matches and will hope the in-form Salomon Kalou can fire them into Europe's biggest club competition.

Encouragingly for Lille, they have lost just two of their last nine meetings with PSG in all competitions - both last season.

Saint-Etienne are out not only to close the gap on Lille, who currently occupy the final Champions League berth, but also to guarantee finishing above arch-rivals Lyon – five points behind them in fifth – for the first time in two decades.

Victory would give the record 10-time Ligue 1 champions 19 wins in a top-flight campaign for the first time since 1981-82, and their quest to achieve that will be aided by the return from suspension of Brandao and Renaud Cohade.

In-form Marseille have reeled in Lyon recently in the battle for the final UEFA Europa League spot.

The Andre-Pierre Gignac-spearheaded Marseille visit the team directly below them in Bordeaux, while Lyon entertain Lorient.

Runners-up Monaco, for whom Dimitar Berbatov has scored four goals in his last three appearances, are away to relegated Valenciennes, while basement club Ajaccio host mid-table Reims.

Relegation-threatened Guingamp and Evian are at home to Toulouse and Nice respectively, and fellow strugglers Sochaux visit Rennes.

Finally, Montpellier have the opportunity to leapfrog Bastia on goal difference by beating them at home.

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Info

Competition
Ligue 1
Date
10 May 2014
Game week
37
Kick-off
21:00
Half-time
0 - 3
Full-time
1 - 3

Goals

0 - 1
10' M. Erdinç
 (assist by M. Gradel)
0 - 2
23' M. Gradel (PG)
0 - 3
45'+2 M. Erdinç
 (assist by K. Zouma)
S. Gakpé 81'
(assist by B. Nicoliţă) 
1 - 3

Lineups

# Player Bookings
16 83'
20
24 60'
26
4
6
18
21
8
19 10' 45+2'
7 23'
Coach: C. Galtier

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
6
10 83'
8
11
12
24
30
# Player Bookings
9
10
27
5
23
28
30

Friday 26 December

Thursday 25 December

Wednesday 24 December

22:46
22:01
21:20
20:39
20:18
19:08
18:35
17:52
17:20
17:07
16:30
16:04
15:45
15:28
15:04
14:59
14:49
14:24
13:43
13:31
13:16
12:49
12:46
12:28
11:53
11:05
11:04
10:25
09:54
08:24
06:14
02:25
01:08
00:44

Ligue 1 table

# Team MP D P
1 19 +21 41
2 19 +23 39
3 19 +19 38
4 19 +10 36
5 19 +5 32
6 19 -1 31
7 19 +2 30
8 19 -3 28
9 19 -5 28
10 19 +2 26
11 19 -5 22
12 19 -11 22
13 18 -2 21
14 19 -7 21
15 19 -5 20
16 19 -4 19
17 19 -10 19
18 18 -12 19
19 19 -7 18
20 19 -10 15

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