Holders Marseille hoping for deja vu in final

PARIS - Holders Olympique Marseille play Montpellier in the French League Cup Final on Saturday just a week after beating their south coast rivals in Ligue 1 but top striker Loic Remy will this time be missing.

The defence of their Ligue 1 title would come before the defence of their League Cup crown for most fans but Marseille are not going to refuse a trophy on offer even in France's least enamoured competition.

Remy is suspended for the final having been dismissed in the 2-1 comeback win in Montpellier on Sunday for reacting after being fouled for the 82nd-minute penalty which gave Didier Deschamps' second-placed side victory.

"In the heat of the moment I did not think about the final," Remy told Le Parisien newspaper.

"The defender fouled me then he insulted me and touched me. I shouldn't have reacted. It's annoying and frustrating to miss an event after all that work."

Remy's attitude will enthuse Deschamps despite the forward having to sit in the stands at the Stade de France showpiece alongside Montpellier's Abdelhamid El-Kaoutari, the man who tussled with him last weekend and was also sent off.

The duo's absence prevents more tension on the field but Remy missing out piles the scoring burden on Andre-Pierre Gignac, who grabbed the 69th-minute equaliser last Sunday having finally won his place back in the starting line-up.

The France striker has had a stop-start season but Gignac's power and aerial ability could again trouble a Montpellier side who looked to be heading for victory last weekend thanks to Olivier Giroud's opener midway through the second half.

Montpellier, eighth in Ligue 1, have had difficultly infront of goal this season having netted just 27 times in the league. Nice and already relegated Arles-Avignon the only top-flight team to have scored less.

But one goal might do it in a cup final with Montpellier having the added bonus of a place in the Europa league if they win.

Even if Rene Girard's side lose, they could still find their way into the Europa League via Ligue 1 if Marseille qualify for the Champions League and an extra Europa League place is therefore made available in the top-flight.