Guingamp, Sochaux, Evian in survival push

Guingamp coach Jocelyn Gourvennec has urged his Coupe de France winners to banish lingering relegation fears by seeing off Toulouse on Saturday.

Despite their national cup glory run, that saw them beat Monaco in the semi-finals before seeing off Rennes at the Stade de France, Guingamp have been unable to shake off the threat of dropping out of the French Ligue 1. They head into the penultimate round of games just two points ahead of third-bottom Sochaux, who go to Rennes, and one clear of Evian.

Guingamp are eager to tie up safety for another year, and Gourvennec geed his team for the game with mid-table Toulouse by saying: "We have a big match on Saturday, in front of our public and with the stands full. We will be at our place and the fans will be coming out to get behind us. We will do all we can to please them."

Guingamp followed up their cup success with a fighting 1-1 draw at Monaco in midweek.

Sochaux could be a team capable of a dramatic escape after finding their best form of the season in recent weeks. A run of six unbeaten games has contained three wins in the last four of those fixtures, and midfielder Nathan Sinkala is convinced that run can continue.

''The coach (Herve Renard) gives us a lot of confidence and he knows we can do it,'' Sinkala said. "'I'm looking forward to helping save Sochaux and to remain in Ligue 1 with them. There's pressure as we're still in 18th position.''

Opponents Rennes suspended and fined defender Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik on Friday following a training ground confrontation with supporters. Sochaux will face Evian on the final day of the season, making for a match that potentially could be a relegation decider.

This weekend sees Evian tackle Nice, and Evian defender Cedric Cambon said: "Defeat is forbidden, but above all victory is required. The situation is pressing. A Sochaux-Evian 'final'? You shouldn't forget Guingamp who are still involved. But we'll concentrate on ourselves, we'll play our match on Saturday and then we'll see. We're going to stay in Ligue 1. The team has the ability to stay up, and we have to show it."

Paris Saint-Germain have tied up the title and Laurent Blanc takes his team to Lille who are close to tying up third place. Defeat could see Lille's advantage over Saint-Etienne, who go to Nantes, trimmed to two points.

Lille boss Rene Girard said: "Is it a good thing or bad that the Parisians are already champions? Some of them will have the World Cup on their minds. But they remain a team composed of super players. We need to take care of ourselves. We have to get the points to assure ourselves of third place."

Monaco are assured of second place and head to relegated Valenciennes.

Bordeaux coach Francis Gillot, whose team play fellow under-performers Marseille, has shrugged off speculation linking former France captain Zinedine Zidane with his job.

Gillot said: "I do not care, it's not my problem. I have a contract, I work, that's all. Besides, Zidane denied, from what I read, but whatever. It's just the media buzz, which is good for you but it does not interest me."

Fifth-placed Lyon tackle mid-table Lorient, relegated Ajaccio play Reims, and Montpellier face Bastia, with all games being played on Saturday evening.

French Ligue 1 fixtures
Ajaccio v Reims
Bordeaux v Marseille
Evian v Nice
Guingamp v Toulouse
Lille v Paris Saint-Germain
Lyon v Lorient
Montpellier v Bastia
Nantes v Saint-Etienne
Rennes v Sochaux
Valenciennes v Monaco