Lyon presented with chance to push clear

PARIS - Olympique Lyon have the perfect opportunity to establish an early lead at the top of Ligue 1 when they host promoted Ajaccio this weekend with Remi Garde's team having been the only one of France's big four to win in the opening round of fixtures.

Once the dominant power in France, winning seven straight titles between 2002 and 2008, Lyon have flattered to deceive ever since despite boasting arguably the best Ligue 1 lineup on paper.

Last weekend's comprehensive 3-1 win at Nice contrasted with draws for champions Lille and Olympique Marseille and big-spending Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 home defeat by Lorient.

The latter three have tricky encounters at home to Montpellier, away to Auxerre and at in-form Stade Rennes while Lyon host promoted Ajaccio on Saturday.

Lyon, who were impressive in Garde's first official game in charge since replacing the sacked Claude Puel, have been further boosted for the match against the Corsicans by Michel Bastos saying he is staying after strong interest from Juventus.

"I feel happy here. There has been a change, a new ambiance," the Brazil winger told reporters.

"I am 28 and I still have a career ahead of me. I said to myself that for sporting reasons it was more interesting for me to stay at OL. There is a will within the club to extend my contract, the president and coach have faith in me."

PSG could play French record signing Javier Pastore at Stade Rennes although the Argentine playmaker, signed from Palermo for a reported 42 million euros, is not fully match fit.

Rennes, surprise title challengers for the first two-thirds of last season, are feeling upbeat after a 5-1 away demolition of promoted Dijon on Sunday.

Lille were generally pleased with their display in the opening 1-1 draw at Nancy but Dimitri Payet's withdrawal from the France squad with a leg injury could make him doubtful for Sunday's home clash with a Montpellier side who overran Auxerre 3-1 last weekend.