Marseille aim for Champions spot in Bastia

Reuters, PARIS

Fri, May 03, 2013 - Page 18

Olympique de Marseille will have extra motivation when they take on SC Bastia in Ligue 1 tomorrow as a win would boost their Champions League dreams while at the same time postponing Paris Saint-Germain’s capture of the title.

Second-placed l’OM trail leaders PSG by nine points, with a vastly inferior goal difference and four games left. A win against Bastia would delay their archrivals’ coronation as champion, even if the Paris side beat Valenciennes on Sunday.

Once again, Marseille will rely primarily on their sturdy defense.

They have not conceded a goal in their last seven league matches and have won 12 of their games by 1-0, equaling PSG’s record from the 2003-2004 season.

“We have turned the screw,” fullback Rod Fanni, who is doubtful because of an ankle injury, told the club’s Web site. “Let’s hope we will continue to hang in there because we have been suffering this year, but it has been worth it.”

“Not over yet, but we’ll need an almighty collapse in Paris,” Marseille midfielder Joey Barton said on Twitter.

The Ligue 1 leaders will have a midfield problem against Valenciennes because their Italy international, Thiago Mott is on a three-match ban, while Marco Verratti and David Beckham will also be suspended after picking up red cards in their previous game at Evian Thonon Gaillard.

Third-placed Olympique Lyonnais are on 60 points, four adrift of Mareseille, and with the title out of their reach, will probably focus more on AS Saint-Etienne’s game against Girondins de Bordeaux today.

Fourth-placed Saint-Etienne, on 58 points, would leapfrog them into third if they win as Lyon play on Sunday at AS Nancy-Lorraine, who left the relegation zone last month for the first time since September last year.

Nancy are in 16th place with 35 points, one point above the relegation zone, while bottom club ES Troyes AC will face almost certain relegation if they fail to beat 17th-placed Evian tomorrow.