PSG looking to extend league lead against Reims

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PARIS (AP) -- Having won 14 of its past 16 games in all competitions, Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to extend its French league lead against struggling Reims on Saturday.

PSG is three points clear of second-place Lyon, which visits Brest on Sunday, and eight clear of Marseille, which heads a tightly packed group of clubs aiming for a Champions league place.

PSG also beat Marseille for the second time in four days on Wednesday to reach the French Cup quarterfinals. David Beckham made his first start for PSG and proved his aging legs can still last the pace.

The 37-year-old former England captain played a 15-minute cameo from the bench in last Sunday's 2-0 win against Marseille in the league, helping to set up the second goal for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He lasted 86 minutes on Wednesday, standing up to the test of a frenzied cup game as PSG again won 2-0.

"This is encouraging," Beckham said. "I came to the club wanting to be part of the team knowing I would not always be part of the starting line-up, and I understand that. I want to try and add to it and help the team be successful. If that means starting, great. If that means coming from the bench, great.

"Obviously I am very happy to be playing. I am happy to be setting goals up. I had a hand in the second goal the other day."

Reims has won just one of its past 18 league matches and is in a perilous position, only one point above the relegation zone.

"We can't let our heads go down," director Didier Perrin said. "We have to continue working. We must win against our direct rivals. Nothing is lost yet."

Brest is five points clear of the bottom three after beating Bordeaux last week, but it faces a tough test against title-chasing Lyon.

After being knocked out of the Europa League by Tottenham, Lyon won 3-1 against Lorient.

"There was a lot of disappointment after we lost in Europe," midfielder Arnold Mvuemba said. "But we did well to react against Lorient, even when we were behind.

"We have to have great results in the league from now on and we will see where we are at the end."

Marseille's title hopes grew slimmer with last weekend's loss to PSG, and Wednesday's cup loss will have added to its misery.

The team hosts relegation-threatened Troyes, which is four points below Reims but is on a run of five games unbeaten to retain hopes of survival.

"We don't have a choice now," Marseille coach Elie Baup said. "We have to put these two disappointments aside and focus on the matches to come in the league. Our challenge is clear -- we have to scrap with quite a few teams in the last 12 matches.

"There is strength of character in our group. The players are united in wanting to fight and we will try to show that from Sunday."

Lille hosts Bordeaux in Sunday's other game, with the visitors having lost three successive league games.

On Saturday it's: Bastia vs. AC Ajaccio; Lorient vs. Valenciennes; Sochaux vs. Nancy; Saint Etienne vs. Nice; and Toulouse vs. Evian Thonon Gaillar.

Montpellier hosts Rennes on Friday, with the two teams level on points.