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Grenoble faces tough test against Lyon

Grenoble faces tough test against Lyon

Newly promoted Grenoble is likely to lose its surprising spot at the top of the French league when it visits seven-time defending champion Lyon on Saturday.
Grenoble is the only team to win both matches in the first two rounds, but will struggle to keep that streak alive at Stade Gerland, where Lyon lost just once in 19 games last season for the best home record in the league. Lyon is tied for second place with four points.
"We'll make sure to prove our worth," Grenoble coach Mecha Bazdarevic told French daily L'Equipe. "Lyon has very few weaknesses, but we'll try to exploit them."
Grenoble signed forward Daniel Moreira, midfielder Laurent Battles and defender David Jemmali during the offseason to inject more experience into a squad that includes several young talents who graduated from the club's youth academy.
That move is paying off so far, and 18-year-old midfielder Sofiane Feghouli is already drawing interest from clubs like Inter Milan, Juventus, and Liverpool.
Lyon, meanwhile, will rely on the in-form duo of Karim Benzema and Sidney Govou, who both scored in France's 3-2 victory over Sweden in a friendly Wednesday. Lyon midfielder Kim Kallstrom also scored for Sweden in that match, but the French champions aren't taking their opponents lightly.
"I'm not surprised by Grenoble's good start," Lyon forward Frederic Piquionne said. "That kind of team wants to take points quickly to reassure itself."
The two other newly promoted teams are also facing title contenders this weekend, as Le Havre hosts Marseille on Saturday while Nantes takes on Bordeaux on Sunday.
Le Havre was undefeated at home in the second tier last season, but will struggle to contain Marseille's potent offense. The second-place team has scored eight goals in two matches, and felt it had enough attacking options to send striker Djibril Cisse on loan to Sunderland on Wednesday.
"We've won 4-0 against Auxerre, so we'll go to Le Havre with a lot of confidence," Marseille center back Vitorino Hilton said. "We'll go there to win."
Marseille midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is doubtful for the match because of a groin problem.
Last season's runner-up Bordeaux will look to bounce back from a 1-0 loss at Paris last weekend, while Nantes is still winless this season.
In Saturday's other games it's: Le Mans vs. Saint-Etienne, Monaco vs. Caen, Nancy vs. Toulouse, Sochaux vs. Paris Saint-Germain, and Valenciennes vs. Lorient.
On Sunday, Nice visits Auxerre while Rennes plays Lille.
Sochaux is the only team still without a point, and will face a PSG squad boosted by the addition of striker Mateja Kezman, who is on loan from Fenerbahce.
"When you're in last place with zero point after two rounds, that's what I call a crisis," Sochaux coach Francis Gillot said.
Sochaux's defensive line has been shaky following a reshuffle in the offseason, when Jeremie Brechet departed for PSV Eindhoven while new signings Jacques Faty and Carlao have struggled to adjust to their new team.
Sochaux lost 2-1 against both Grenoble and Saint-Etienne.
"We lost in the first match because of two individual errors," Gillot said. "And against Saint-Etienne because of two positioning mistakes."
Sochaux struggled at home last season, winning only three of 19 matches.


Updated : 2020-12-03 02:51 GMT+08:00