PSG, Monaco seek Champions League boost

Update: February, 10/2017 - 11:00
Paris Saint-Germain’s Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani (back) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the French L1 football match between Dijon FCO and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on February 4, at Gaston Gerard Stadium in Dijon. — AFP Photo
Viet Nam News

PARIS — Paris Saint Germain face a tough trip to Bordeaux while Ligue 1 leaders Monaco host modest Metz with both French giants looking for morale-boosting wins ahead of the resumption of the Champions League.

Pacesetters Monaco, who have hit 70 goals from 24 games this season, have 55 points, three more than PSG who are level with Mario Balotelli’s Nice on 52.

Nice make the long trip to Brittany to face Rennes on Sunday but have no midweek fixture to worry about unlike Monaco who travel to Manchester City while PSG host Barcelona in the Champions League last 16, first leg.

With Barcelona’s visit looming, PSG’s Brazilian striker Lucas grabbed a last gasp winner in the 2-1 victory at Lille in midweek, proving the capital side have depth.

Edinson Cavani’s opener, his 23rd league goal of the campaign, also speaks for itself as the Parisians juggle the desire to advance in Europe and the need to keep pace with Monaco.

"They will be different matches because Bordeaux and Barcelona are different teams. For the moment, we are focused on Friday’s game... After that, we’ll think about Messi, Neymar, Pique etc," PSG coach Unai Emery said on Thursday.

"When you’re playing every three days you need players who are 100 percent fit, and you need to manage their training very closely" Emery said ahead of the Lille game.

Emery welcomes back two crucial players for Bordeaux in midfield ace Marco Verratti and first choice ’keeper Kevin Trapp.

Paris beat Bordeaux two weeks ago in a 4-1 League Cup thrashing but they come into the game on a run of form culminating in a 4-0 midweek win over Caen. 

Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim warned his players to watch out for Metz, who he pointed out have a better away record than many higher placed clubs.

He was also worrying about Manchester City and the Champions League last 16 clash.

"They are top level and afraid of nobody. They have a great squad," he said.

"But were also going for the league. Paris didn’t win the league by chance, we have to get organised and beat Metz and Bastia (over the spell Monaco face City twice), we’ll be tired but we can play with a bit of tiredness," he said.

Jardim however will have to do without two of his first choice players as Djibril Sidibe and Valere Germain picked up injuries in the 2-1 defeat of Montpellier on Tuesday. — AFP