Marseille hoping to overhaul Lyon for first win

August 12, 2005
By Julien Pretot

PARIS, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Olympique Marseille will be desperate to get their season off the ground after a poor start when they host Olympique Lyon in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Marseille, with two defeats so far, face a tough task against the champions who have six points out of six, helped by two goals from in-form Norway striker John Carew.

Coach Jean Fernandez said the club, who won the last of their eight French championships in 1992, did not expect to wrest the title away from the four-times winners.

'We're not chasing the title. Lyon are much stronger than we are,' he said.

His players, who suffered a 2-0 defeat by Deportivo Coruna in the first leg of their Intertoto Cup final on Tuesday, were worn out, Fernandez said.

'We've played four games in ten days and we need to rest,' he said.

There will be no time for that against Lyon, who should have Ghana midfielder Michael Essien in their squad after weeks of speculation over a move to English champions Chelsea.

In the weekend's other matches, Nantes, the early leaders who escaped relegation on the final day of last season, should make it three out of three against AC Ajaccio.

Paris St Germain, also on six points, host Toulouse in Saturday's early kickoff. Ivory Coast forward Bonaventure Kalou and Portugal striker Pauleta should be fit to play for PSG after recovering from minor injuries.

Monaco will be eager to make amends after two defeats in a week, by Real Betis in the Champions League on Wednesday and at home to AJ Auxerre on the domestic front last weekend, when they travel to Racing Strasbourg on Sunday.

'I'm not concerned, I trust my players,' said coach Didier Deschamps.

Last season's surprise package Stade Rennes will hope for a first win when they travel to promoted Le Mans, while Lille host promoted Troyes and RC Lens visit last season's Ligue 2 champions Nancy.