SPORTS

Unbeaten Lyon will not takeOlympiakos lightly, players say

PARIS (AP) – Lyon goalkeeper Gregory Coupet says his team won’t take Olympiakos lightly in their Group F Champions League match tonight. Lyon is unbeaten in the French first division and tops its group in Europe with two wins – 3-0 over Real Madrid and 1-0 at Rosenborg. Greek champion Olympiakos, meanwhile, is bottom of the group with no points, and it has lost 22 and drawn four of its last 26 European matches away from home. «I don’t care about Olympiakos’s statistics,» Coupet said ahead of the game at Stade Gerland. «It’s still a big challenge. The wind is favorable but we have not guaranteed anything yet. We must confirm our status.» Olympiakos, with confidence low following a surprise 2-1 home loss Sunday to Thessaloniki club PAOK, is likely to be without former Brazil star Rivaldo, who has a leg injury. Lyon’s president, Jean-Michel Aulas, is already looking ahead to winning the group. «If we win, yes, our qualification is practically assured, as we would only need one point from three matches,» Aulas said. «It’s great as a club to find ourselves in this position. Our objective now is to finish top of the group, as this is a considerable advantage in the next phase.» Lyon has no major injury worries aside from striker Pierre-Alain Frau, who has a calf strain. Coach Gerard Houllier welcomes back Norway striker John Carew and midfielder Mahamadou Diarra from suspension. Lyon beat Ajaccio 3-2 at home Sunday to open up a seven-point lead atop the French first division with eight wins and three draws from 11 matches. Olympiakos will look to Cyprus strikers Michalis Constantinou and Yiannis Okkas to trouble Lyon’s resolute defense, which unusually conceded two goals to Ajaccio – one on a sloppy error from Coupet. Olympiakos midfielder Pandelis Kaffes believes his team can win. «Everything’s possible in football. On Wednesday, we’ll be more focused,» Kaffes said. [Meanwhile, PAOK, Greece’s only UEFA Cup survivor, returns to Ukraine for its opening group stage game tomorrow against Shakhtar Donetsk. Just weeks ago, the Thessaloniki club had eliminated Metalurh Donetsk to progress from the first round and into the group stage.]