Football: Bordeaux and Marseilles lead French assault

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The Independent Online
FRANCE'S THREE Uefa Cup quarter-finalists face difficult second legs tonight and, in the case of Lyon, a virtually impossible task. While Lyon trail Bologna 3-0, Bordeaux and Marseilles take slim 2-1 leads to Parma and Celta Vigo respectively. The fourth match sees Roma also trying to overturn a 2-1 deficit, at home to Atletico Madrid.

Bordeaux, back ahead of Marseilles at the top of the French League, are pinning their hopes on a player lacking in vital match practice as they look to secure a berth in the semi-finals for the second time in three years. Ali Benarbia's only match in more than a month was the first leg two weeks ago. The Moroccan playmaker is serving a three-match domestic suspension for stamping on an assistant referee's foot and has been carrying out a special training programme to keep him in peak form.

The Argentinian playmaker Juan Veron, superb in Parma's 2-1 home Serie A victory over Bari on Saturday, is the main man standing in Bordeaux's way, capable of setting up the strikers Hernan Crespo or Enrico Chiesa at any moment. Crespo's late first-leg goal could be decisive as Parma seek a treble of League, Italian Cup and Uefa Cup.

Marseilles also plan to stick to their attacking tactics with a three- pronged strike force of Fabrizio Ravanelli, Christophe Dugarry and Florian Maurice in Galicia. "Frankly, we don't know how to play for a draw. It's not in our nature to go into a shell in defence," Dugarry said.

Atletico Madrid are pinning their whole season, dismal on the domestic front, on the Uefa Cup. Their first leg 2-1 home victory came in the middle of a run of seven Spanish League games in which they have taken only one point. Roma, who came out of a long slump with a 3-1 Serie A win over Bologna on Saturday, will look for inspiration to Francesco Totti, one of the best young midfielders in Italy.

Lyon have nothing to lose at home to Bologna. The French club's coach, Bernard Lacombe, said: "If we score in the first 20 minutes, that can make them worry. But we mustn't attack in a swashbuckling manner."