PSG bidding to create ‘distance’ from Ligue 1 rivals at top


Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier wants his side to create some “distance” between themselves and their rivals at the top of Ligue 1 when they face Ajaccio, and Galtier’s son Jordan, on Friday.

The reigning champions opened up a three-point lead at the summit last weekend with a tense 1-0 victory over Marseille, who have slipped from second in the table to fourth after back-to-back defeats in the last fortnight.

Igor Tudor’s OM face a tough task to bounce back, though, hosting third-placed Lens on Saturday.

Surprise package Lorient, who sit second, could be six points behind PSG by the time they visit Troyes.

“We’re top of the league, and there are some top-of-the-table clashes this weekend, so it’s up to us to put in a complete performance and keep the chasing pack at a distance,” said Galtier.

PSG will be hoping to race away with the title again this season after finishing 15 points clear of Marseille last term, giving them space to focus on their latest bid for a maiden Champions League crown.

The capital giants can secure their place in the last 16 in Europe on Tuesday with victory over Maccabi Haifa at the Parc des Princes.

But first they must overcome an Ajaccio side who have claimed seven points from their last four matches, featuring a shock 2-1 win over Marseille, after mustering just one point in their opening seven games.

“They’re coming off the back of some good performances,” said Galtier, whose son is the Ajaccio assistant coach.

“The start to the season was a bit difficult for them because you always have to get used to playing in Ligue 1.

“The stadium will be full, and there’ll be a fiery atmosphere because the fans are close to the pitch.

“We’ll need to turn up, show a lot of desire and not look too far ahead to Tuesday’s game against Haifa.”

Neymar continued his brilliant start to the season with the winning goal against Marseille. The Brazilian has already scored 12 goals this term but is suspended for the trip to Ajaccio, along with Sergio Ramos.

Story continues

Player to watch: Dango Ouattara

The Burkina Faso international has been a vital player in Lorient’s remarkable start, scoring four goals and creating four others in his 10 appearances.

Lorient’s six-match winning streak came to an end last weekend with a goalless draw against Reims and they will be without leading scorer Terem Moffi due to an ankle injury.

They will be hoping the 20-year-old Ouattara can step up in Moffi’s absence and continue his rise after only making seven league starts last campaign.

Key stats

14 – times Lionel Messi has struck the woodwork in Ligue 1 since joining PSG, four more times than any other player.

5 – league goals conceded by PSG, three fewer than any other team. Ajaccio are the lowest scorers in the division with only eight goals.

1 – points won by Lyon in their past six matches. Former PSG boss Laurent Blanc tasted defeat in his first match in charge with a 3-2 loss at Rennes last week.

Fixtures (times GMT)

Friday

Ajaccio v Paris Saint-Germain (1900)

Saturday

Montpellier v Lyon (1500), Marseille v Lens (1900)

Sunday

Angers v Rennes (1100), Clermont v Brest, Reims v Auxerre, Toulouse v Strasbourg, Troyes v Lorient (all 1300), Nice v Nantes (1505), Lille v Monaco (1845)

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