Coupe de France Preview: Lyon host Lens, Monaco visit Nice
By Football News
In-form Lyon will be strong favourites to enjoy more cup success when they host Lens in the last 16 of the Coupe de France on Thursday.
Remi Garde's charges advanced to the Coupe de la Ligue final - where they will face Paris Saint-Germain - with a 2-1 semi-final victory over Troyes last week, and have lost just one of their last 14 games in all competitions.
Lyon sit sixth in Ligue 1, seven points adrift of third-placed Lille in the final UEFA Champions League qualification spot, after their 2-1 win at Nantes on Sunday thanks to a first-half strike from Alexandre Lacazette and Bafetimbi Gomis' penalty 14 minutes from time.
The Stade de Gerland outfit now have the chance to take one step closer to glory in the Coupe de France, a competition they last won in 2012.
Lens will be no pushovers, however, and will travel to the Stade de Gerland in high spirits after a superb campaign in Ligue 2 thus far.
Antoine Kombouare's men are third in the table just four points adrift of top spot, as they attempt to return to France's top flight for the first time since 2011.
Elsewhere, Ligue 1 title hopefuls Monaco bid for a quarter-final spot at fellow top-flight outfit Nice.
Claudio Ranieri's charges were dealt a blow in the last round against Monts d'Or Azergues when star striker Radamel Falcao suffered a damaged cruciate ligament.
Emmanuel Riviere has been charged with the task of leading the line in his absence, and Ranieri will hope the 23-year-old can fire Monaco into the next round.
In other fixtures, top-flight outfits Montpellier and Rennes face potential banana skins in visits to Cannes and Auxerre respectively.
Guingamp also hit the road to face lower-league opposition in the form of Ile Rousse Monticello.
Lille's Ligue 1 title hopes have faded after a run of just one win in their last six top-flight games, but Rene Girard's side will start as favourites when they welcome Ligue 2 outfit Caen to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Only Marseille and PSG have won the competition on more occasions than Lille and, with both of those clubs already eliminated from this season's competition, 2014 presents a great chance to add to their haul of six victories.
Elsewhere, there is guaranteed to be representation from outside of Ligue 1 in the quarter-finals, as Moulins face-off with Sete and Angers host CA Bastia.