Ligue 1 Preview: Nice v Paris Saint-Germain
By Football News
Nice goalkeeper David Ospina is hoping to replicate last season's heroics and earn a shock win over Paris Saint-Germain on Friday.
Claude Puel's side won 2-1 in the corresponding fixture in 2012-13 at the Stade du Ray in December 2012 thanks to a late winner from Valentin Eysseric, one of only five Ligue 1 defeats that PSG suffered en route to being crowned champions.
That victory was a standout moment in what was an excellent campaign for Nice, who finished fourth, qualifying for the UEFA Europa League.
However, Nice's chances of overcoming the runaway leaders at their new Allianz Riviera home appear slim following a change in fortunes.
Nice are unbeaten in the previous three league games, but still sit a disappointing 11th, 35 points behind PSG.
Laurent Blanc's men lead second-placed Monaco by 10 points following last week's 1-0 success at Lorient and should be confident of completing a league double over Nice after cruising to a 3-1 win in the reverse fixture in November.
PSG, unbeaten in Ligue 1 since the start of December, host Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals five days after the clash with Nice as they face the biggest test so far in their quest to win four trophies in 2013-14.
The Parc des Princes outfit clinched the Trophee des Champions back in August and could yet add further silverware to the expected second straight league title when PSG meet Lyon in the Coupe de la Ligue final next month.
But, despite the capital club's dominance in domestic competition, Ospina insists Nice will be determined to cause an upset.
"We know their quality, we know that they are en route to the title and have shone in the Champions League," Ospina said.
"But ultimately it is only one more reason to give our maximum and pull off a result. We are working to make progress, to take points.
"Throughout the week we have done a lot of work, now we want to finish it on Friday."
Nice are likely to face a near full-strength PSG squad, with Gregory van der Wiel the only doubt after missing the last three games because of a knee injury.
Captain Thiago Silva suffered a fractured cheekbone at Lorient, but is fit to play after being fitted with a protective facial mask.
However, with the visit of Premier League leaders Chelsea around the corner, Blanc could well rest a number of his stars for the trip to the Cote d'Azur.
Nice will again be without defender Nemanja Pejcinovic due to a hernia, while midfielder Fabrice Abriel (ankle) and Xavier Pentecote (back) are both still on the sidelines.