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Lyon heads to PSG with coach Fournier's job in the balance

Lyon heads to leader PSG with coach Fournier's job still in the balance despite Valencia win

Lyon heads to PSG with coach Fournier's job in the balance

PARIS (AP) -- Lyon's unexpected win at Valencia in the Champions League has lifted some of the pressure off coach Hubert Fournier.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Fournier had two games to save his job, following a run of four losses and a draw and increasing friction inside the dressing room.

"It's encouraging to have found our collective strength again," Fournier said after Wednesday's victory.

Even club president Jean-Michel Aulas was impressed, saying "we're on the right track" only a few days ago after he said he would not be afraid to fire Fournier if the poor run of results continued.

One down, one to go.

The problem is that Lyon's next game is at league leader Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday. Unbeaten PSG is riding high at the top of the league and is 19 points ahead of fifth-place Lyon.

Furthermore, striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in great form for PSG with 10 goals in nine games.

Here are some things to know about this weekend's games:



Lyon's chances of getting a result at PSG on Sunday have been hurt by an injury to top scorer Alexandre Lacazette.

Lacazette injured his thigh in Wednesday's 2-0 win at Valencia. Lacazette, who scored in that match, has netted five of the last eight goals scored by Lyon and has been showing signs of returning to form after a slow start.

"I think Alexandre will struggle to be fit to face PSG," Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said.

That will be good news for PSG, considering that Lacazette topped the league scoring charts last season with 27 goals.



Lyon coach Hubert Fournier will be keeping his fingers crossed that Clement Grenier's latest return from injury leads to a sustained spell in the side.

Grenier has only just returned after sustaining a serious thigh injury during a pre-season match against Arsenal in July.

The injury-plagued Grenier also sat out most of last season, playing just six league games.

His assured touch and excellent range of passing have been sorely missed by Lyon, and he was Lyon's best player in the Champions League win against Valencia on Wednesday.



Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu's difficult relationship with coach Laurent Blanc may have taken a decisive turn for the worse.

Blanc relegated Sirigu to the bench after buying Kevin Trapp from German side Eintracht Frankfurt in the offseason.

That irked Sirigu, who has been ever-present for PSG in the past four seasons, breaking into the Italy team and making 15 international appearances so far.

With PSG already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, Blanc had planned to give Sirigu a game against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday. But according to sports daily L'Equipe, Sirigu refused to play because he does not want to make himself ineligible for European competition if a team signs him in January.

That appears to send a clear sign to Blanc that he is not prepared to fight for his place at PSG.



In terms of picking up a bargain buy, Montpellier may just have the find of the season in Casimir Ninga.

The 22-year-old Chad striker played for unheralded Gabonese side AS Mangasport in the past two seasons. But Montpellier coach Roland Courbis -- one of the shrewdest managers in French football and renowned for spotting talent -- saw something he liked.

Courbis bought him for a modest 75,000 euros ($82,000) on a four-year contract.

His value is now much higher after netting five goals in eight games, including four in his past three, to help Montpellier steadily climb up the table.

Updated : 2021-09-23 08:48 GMT+08:00