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PSG hosts Nice looking to close in on French title

April 18, 2013

PARIS (AP) — After seeing its dreams of a first league and cup double dashed, Paris Saint Germain will be eager to continue its march to the French league title when it hosts Nice on Sunday.

PSG lost a shootout to Evian on Wednesday in which Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva missed penalties.

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti, who criticized his team back in November, has hit out at his players again.

“Tonight is a disaster,” the Italian said. “It’s the worst match of the season. It’s a huge disappointment, especially because their attitude wasn’t good. You can lose a match, but we didn’t have any character. Certain players played for themselves. I’m angry with the whole team.

“Sometimes, during the season, when the whole team has been focused, we have had great matches, such as that against Barcelona. I have a responsibility because I am with the players. If the team didn’t go out onto the pitch with the right attitude, it’s the fault of the manager. All matches are difficult. The season is not over, we have to give our all in every match.”

Second-place Marseille saw the gap to PSG grow to nine points after it drew at Lille last weekend. It hosts relegation-threatened Brest on Saturday.

Lyon is two points further behind and travels to Montpellier on Friday.

Nice has won its past two matches to move up to fifth in the table, two points off a Champions League spot.

“Today we’re just thinking mainly about picking up points, fighting in each match,” Nice manager Claude Puel said. “From second to 10th, all the teams are looking up the table. We’ll play our game and we’ll see where that gets us.

“We just want to do our utmost, to experience a great end of season.”

Marseille will be eager to maintain its claim for second spot as well as keep alive its slim title hopes. But Brest will be desperate for the points.

It has lost its past five league matches and sits 19th in the table, three points off safety.

“As long as there’s a little chance we’ll hold onto that until the end,” Brest coach Corentin Martins said. “I believe and I’ll try and transmit that to the players.”

Nancy has two more points than Brest and has lost just one of its past five league games, to boost its hopes of avoiding relegation. It welcomes Evian in a relegation battle on Sunday, with the visiting side just three points above it.

Sochaux, which is just a point off the bottom three, hosts Bordeaux.

Saint-Etienne has not lost in the league in 2013, a run which has seen it stake a claim for a Champions League spot. It is above Nice on goal difference, two points behind third-place Lyon and a spot in the last round of playoffs for the top European competition.

Saint-Etienne hosts Ajaccio on Wednesday, with last-place Troyes visiting Rennes.

Lille sits just three points behind Lyon and also entertains Champions League aspirations. It visits Bastia.

Also, it’s: Reims vs. Valenciennes; and Toulouse vs. Lorient.

Update hourly