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Monday, May 1, 2006
Frustrated Marseille chase UEFA Cup spot

Patrick Vignal

PARIS, May 1 (Reuters) - Two spots in Europe are still up for grabs in Ligue 1 and Olympique Marseille are determined to take one to make up for a frustrating French Cup final defeat by Paris St Germain.

The race continues on Wednesday when sixth-placed Marseille, who lost 2-1 to arch-rivals PSG in Saturday's final at the Stade de France, visit Auxerre who are seventh.

Ninth-placed PSG, who made sure of a UEFA Cup spot by lifting the French Cup for the seventh time, are also in action on Wednesday at Stade Rennes who are fifth.

All the clubs playing that night can finish in the top four and earn a European place.

The two games were rescheduled because of Marseille and PSG's Cup final date. After these two fixtures, every team will have two matches left.

Olympique Lyon have already clinched a record fifth consecutive title while Girondins Bordeaux are virtually certain to finish runners-up to qualify for the Champions League.

Lyon set a points record of 81 in Ligue 1 when they crushed neighbours St Etienne 4-0 on Sunday.

Second-placed Bordeaux have 65 points, followed by Lille on 58 and Racing Lens on 56.

The third-placed team reach the preliminary round of the Champions League while the side finishing fourth join Cup winners PSG and League Cup holders Nancy in the UEFA Cup.

The relegation issue was settled at the weekend, with Racing Strasbourg, Ajaccio and Metz consigned to the drop.

Valenciennes won promotion to Ligue 1 on Friday, 13 years after being engulfed in France's biggest match-fixing case with Marseille.




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