Marseille face Lille without Ayew brothers

Life without brothers Andre and Jordan Ayew began well for Olympique Marseille this week and the side must keep up the momentum when they play Ligue 1 champions Lille on Sunday.

Marseille, who have narrowed the gap with the leaders after a mediocre start to the season, swept past Caen 3-0 in a League Cup quarter-final this week with Mathieu Valbuena and Loic Remy more than compensating for the Ayews' departure for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Ghana forwards are travelling to Equatorial Guinea and Gabon for the January 21-February 12 Cup and Brazilian striker Brandao has rejoined Marseille to help out after spending time on loan at two Brazilian clubs.

Coach Didier Deschamps said Brandao could be included in the squad to face Lille, but warned that they would be much tougher opponents than Caen.

"On Sunday, the competition will be much stronger," Deschamps told the club's website.

Marseille, who have qualified for the Champions League knockout phase and are on course to win both the League and French Cups, are sixth in the standings with 31 points from 19 games, nine points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Lille who are third, four points off the pace, conceded their first domestic defeat in five months in a 2-1 loss at Olympique Lyon in a League Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.

PSG, who are signing full-back Maxwell from Barcelona to make up for Siaka Tiene's departure to the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast, take on Toulouse on Saturday hoping to give coach Carlo Ancelotti a winning debut at the Parc des Princes.

PSG could still be without midfielder Jeremy Menez and striker Kevin Gameiro, who have not fully recovered from injuries.

Both missed their team's 2-1 win at fifth-division Locmine in the French Cup last 64 last weekend.

Second-placed Montpellier, who are three points behind PSG, entertain fourth-placed Lyon, who have defensive troubles.

Centre-backs Cris and Dejan Lovren are both injured and are likely to miss the match.


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