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Leagues: Ligue Un

Lyon prepare to face Monaco goal machine

Paris (AFP) – Lyon will be the latest team to try to stop Monaco’s lethal attack as the two sides meet in Ligue 1 in their penultimate match of the year at the Stade Louis II on Sunday.

Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco are the top scorers in Europe’s big five leagues with 53 goals in 17 matches — nobody else has scored more than 40 — and they kept up their remarkable run by trouncing Rennes 7-0 to reach the League Cup quarter-finals in midweek.

The principality club may have been seen as a good draw for Manchester City when the teams were paired together in the Champions League last 16, but they have scored 76 times in all competitions.

The goals have been spread around the squad and a rejuvenated Radamel Falcao is the leading marksman with 14.

“We’re on a positive dynamic. But this is the first time in my career that one of my teams has scored so many goals,” admitted Jardim after beating Rennes while resting Falcao and several other regulars.

Unbeaten in eight in the league, Monaco are second in the table, a point behind leaders Nice and 11 points clear of Lyon, who are fourth with a game in hand.

Bruno Genesio’s side surely need to win on the Cote d’Azur to maintain any real hope of finishing the campaign in the top three after pipping Monaco to second place last season.

Their league form has improved recently but they were knocked out of the League Cup after losing a penalty shoot-out at home to Guingamp, albeit with a host of regulars rested.

– Balotelli back among goals –

Paris Saint-Germain remain third, four points adrift of table-toppers Nice, as they go to Brittany to face Guingamp on Saturday.

Unai Emery’s side have been struggling to match the high standards they have set in the past but they showed great spirit to come from two goals down and draw with Nice last weekend.

In midweek they beat Lille 3-1 in the League Cup as ex-Real Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez marked just his second start for the club with his second goal.

He is one of those set to drop out of the team with Angel di Maria and 22-goal leading scorer Edinson Cavani in line to return at the Stade du Roudourou.

Guingamp, representing a town of barely 7,000 souls, are sixth in the table as they continue to flourish under Antoine Kombouare, the former PSG player and coach who was appointed in the summer.

“When you come into a club you do everything to start well, but the hardest thing is keeping it going,” said Kombouare, sacked by Paris in December 2011.

“At the moment the results are good and I am becoming more and more demanding. Our objective is to gain respect. We must be feared.”

Nice confirmed their credentials as title challengers with a battling performance to hold PSG to a 2-2 draw, even if they did squander a two-goal lead.

Lucien Favre’s men were eliminated from the League Cup in a 3-2 reverse at Bordeaux on Wednesday but the sight of Mario Balotelli playing 90 minutes, and scoring, will have come as a big boost before they host Dijon on Sunday.

After their hammering in Monaco, fifth-placed Rennes will look to bounce back against Bastia as they defend an unbeaten home record this season.

Marseille are sweating on the fitness of top scorer Bafetimbi Gomis as Rudi Garcia’s side prepare to host Lille, the club he led to a league and cup double in 2011.



Angers v Nantes (1945 GMT)


Guingamp v Paris Saint-Germain (1600 GMT), Caen v Metz, Lorient v Saint-Etienne, Montpellier v Bordeaux, Rennes v Bastia, Toulouse v Nancy (all 1900 GMT)


Nice v Dijon (1400 GMT), Marseille v Lille (1600 GMT), Monaco v Lyon (1945 GMT)

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