Cup winners Lille eye more celebrations

PARIS - Some 10,000 people gathered in Lille on Sunday to celebrate the club's French Cup win and the celebrations could get wilder if the northerners, gunning for their first league crown since 1954, beat Sochaux on Wednesday.

Victory on Wednesday would give Lille a six-point lead over champions Olympique Marseille with two matches left in Ligue 1, almost enough to seal the title.

"Mathematically, it's not done yet," Lille sporting director Frederic Paquet told sports daily L'Equipe on Monday, though Marseille appear to have already conceded the crown.

"Sincerely, I think it's over now," Marseille's France keeper Steve Mandanda told reporters after his team's 2-2 draw at Lorient on Sunday.

"It's not over, mathematically, but I don't think Lille will let it go," added defender Souleymane Diawara.

Lille have a better goal difference - plus 30 to Marseille's plus 23 - and the local mayor and French socialist party leader Martine Aubry is ready to celebrate.

"We're waiting for the double and some more bottles of beer are ready," Aubry told the crowd on Sunday after the 1-0 cup final win over Paris Saint-Germain.

Lille will once again bank on their impressive frontline to unsettle in-form Sochaux, who are looking to secure a Europa League spot after a run of seven unbeaten matches took them to sixth in the standings.

Gervinho, top striker Moussa Sow and Belgian prodigy Eden Hazard are fit for Wednesday's game in the tiny Villeneuve d'Ascq stadium, with holding midfielder Florent Balmont, who has a thigh injury, the only missing player.

PSG will look to keep alive their hopes of securing a qualifying spot for the Champions League third qualifying round when they travel to Girondins Bordeaux on Wednesday.

PSG, fourth in the standings, need to leapfrog third-placed Olympique Lyon, who play at Brest on Monday, as they try to put their cup final defeat behind them.

"There is no time to complain. We need to get back on track as soon as possible," coach Antoine Kombouare told reporters.

PSG trail Lyon by one point.