Kombouare calls for big Christmas climax
Paris St Germain coach Antoine Kombouare has asked his players for one final effort before Christmas as they target top spot against St Etienne on Wednesday night. Kombouare, who looks set to go into 2012 in the PSG hot-seat despite continued speculation about his position, has led the big-spending Parisians to a share of first place alongside Montpellier.
Their final game before the winter break is at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard against a St Etienne side who have won four of their last five Ligue 1 encounters. Kombouare told L'Equipe: "We have played three games in nine days and we need to emphasise the recovery time ahead of a big game against an opponent who is in form. One more effort, a big push before the break. Then we will have a well-earned holiday after five strenuous months."
Montpellier conclude a stunning end to the year at Evian. Rene Girard's side have been the surprise package so far and will fancy their chances of recording a fifth away win against Evian, who were beaten 2-1 at Lyon at the weekend.
Fourth-placed Lyon will look to address a poor record at Valenciennes when they meet on Wednesday. Les Gones have been victorious just once in five visits to the Stade du Hainaut but go into the clash in wonderful form having won their last five games in all competitions to strengthen their Ligue 1 title chances and advance into the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League.
At the other end, rock-bottom Ajaccio travel to fellow strugglers Sochaux buoyed by their defeat of Rennes yesterday. The Corsican club moved within six points of safety with the victory - just their second of the season - giving hope that they could yet escape the drop.
Coach Olivier Pantaloni told www.rmcsport.fr: "The squad is uninhibited (by pressure) and we must continue to be that way. With our spirit we will still have a say in the relegation fight even when other give up. We cannot let go of anything."
Nice are also in the relegation zone and face a difficult trip to third-placed Lille, who drew 0-0 at PSG last night. Improving Marseille kick-off the midweek programme at Nancy tomorrow night while the following evening Auxerre host Dijon, Caen go to Lorient, Rennes will look to get back on track at home to Bordeaux while Toulouse meet Brest.