On Sunday afternoon there is a key game in Ligue 1 that could have huge significant in the race for the Europa League places. Lille host Girondins de Bordeaux in the first of the day’s games and the home side welcome Manchester City’s loanee Marcos “Rony” Lopes back into the first-team after suspension.
The Portuguese midfielder picked up a red card against Saint-Etienne and missed a further two matches after review. In 13 starts this season, Lopes has scored three and set up two goals. When he has been available, his contributions have been vital.
Two injuries and the latest suspension have meant that Lopes has missed a number of key games, Sunday is a chance for Lopes to repeat what he did against Lyon and lead Lille to a much-needed victory.
With six games still to play, Lille are seven points behind Bordeaux who sit in sixth place. If Paris Saint-Germain win the Coupe de France final against Auxerre the Europa League place will go to the sixth place club, making Sunday’s game one of the biggest for both clubs this season.
Lille won on their travels last week at Evian, but it took a penalty from Sofiane Boufal to seal all three points. The team has been lacking the drive and impetus that Lopes brings.
Bordeaux will still be buoyed by the 1-0 win over Marseille at the Stade Chaban Delmas.
Victory for Willy Sagnol’s team will all but end Lille’s slim chances of Europe. However, inspired by Manchester City’s Portuguese wizard, Lille could remarkably finish the season in the top six.