PSG looks to end the year on a high against Brest


PARIS (AP) -- Paris Saint-Germain travels to Brest on Friday looking to close out the year in style after reclaiming top spot in the French league with a 1-0 win over title rival Lyon.

It was PSG's third league win on the trot, snapping a miserable run in which it lost three games in five.

"In my eyes, we've had a good start to the season," goalscorer Blaise Matuidi said. "We had a tough moment in November, sure, but we got ourselves back on track and I hope that we finish the year in style in Brest so that we can really enjoy our holidays."

PSG, Lyon and third-place Marseille are all locked on 35 points after 18 matches, but PSG has the better goal difference as it seeks to win its first league title since the 1993-94 season.

Lyon hosts Nice on Saturday, while Marseille entertains Saint-Etienne the following day.

PSG was top over the winter break last year, but ended the season three points behind eventual champion Montpellier.

"The most important thing is to be in top spot in May," Matuidi added. "But we certainly want to finish 2012 well on Friday night so that we can really enjoy our holidays.

"We're not thinking about a poor result in Brest; we're going there to win and to set ourselves up to begin 2013 with a maximum of confidence."

Lyon is still smarting from the defeat to PSG and will be looking to bounce back immediately against Nice, which has won five of its past six matches, drawing the other one.

Mouhamadou Dabo returns from suspension, following his red card in the win over Saint-Etienne.

"I would have liked to play against Nancy and PSG," he said. "I've worked hard in training. We have an important match Saturday night. We're motivated, we know it's been a long time since Lyon won a match before the end of the year at home.

"We're not concerned really with being top over the winter. If we are, it doesn't mean we will be at the end of the season. But a win would be good before the holidays and it would repay our fans who are always behind us."

Marseille will try to turn around its poor home record against a Saint-Etienne side seemingly in freefall.

Marseille has won seven of its 10 away games in the league -- including the last three -- but has only one victory from its past five games at the Stade Velodrome and lost its last two home games 4-1 and 3-0.

"We should have more points," striker Andre-Pierre Gignac said. "We collapsed in some games. I can't explain that. Even if we lose, we have to fight ... we can't afford to collapse like that.

"I don't know if there is a 'Velodrome syndrome.' But we should make teams scared of the Velodrome. Before, teams came knowing there was nothing there for them. Now, they come to win. We have to fix that."

Saint-Etienne has dropped to eighth spot after drawing two and losing two of its past four league games without scoring a goal.

Lorient is up to fourth following four wins on the trot and it hosts relegation-threatened Reims on Saturday, while defending champion Montpellier travels to Lille.

Also on Saturday, it's: Ajaccio vs. Rennes; Bastia vs. Nancy; and Bordeaux vs. Troyes.

Sunday's other games see Valenciennes entertain Evian, while Toulouse hosts Sochaux.