Fontvieille, Monaco (SportsNetwork.com) - Two of France's premier clubs will face off on Sunday in a top-four clash with potential title implications as Paris Saint-Germain travels to the Stade Louis II to face Monaco.
Both sides come into Sunday's clash riding a nice wave of momentum as PSG, the two-time defending league champs, come in with an impressive 11-match unbeaten run en tow following a comfortable 3-1 defeat of Toulouse in league play last time out.
Adrien Rabiot opened the scoring for Les Parisiens in the 27th minute and completed a brace two minutes into the second half.
Wissam Ben Yedder pulled one back for Toulouse in the 51st minute, but it wasn't enough as Thiago Silva secured all three points for Laurent Blanc's side in the 74th minute, pulling the club to within two points of leaders Lyon heading into Sunday.
"We played very well, we created openings and we scored. The fans in the ground saw some good football," Blanc said. "Obviously they were three very important points, but I was also pleased with the way we got them. This provisional first place means something. We had the chance to take several times before, without ever achieving it. This afternoon, we did what we needed to do to be top of the table. It puts some pressure on our opponents."
"It was a great win," said midfielder Blaise Matuidi. "It was important to build on what we did against Chelsea. There was a bit of fatigue about, but we played with intensity, attacked, scored goals and it was a good night. We wanted to make up for those two points we dropped against Caen and we've done that."
Monaco also comes into the match riding a wave of confidence following an impressive 3-1 victory against Arsenal in the Champions League round-of-16 at the Emirates Stadium.
The visitors struck for the lead in the 39th minute when Geoffrey Kondogbia picked his head up from about 25 yards out and unleashed a thunderbolt that took a deflection off Arsenal defender Per Mertesaker and left Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina flat-footed for the opening salvo of the tie.
Monaco doubled the lead in the 53rd minute by hitting on a well-executed counter-attack. Anthony Martial got on the end of an excellent pass down the left that beat four Arsenal defenders. He then slid it across to Dimitar Berbatov, who smashed it into the bottom left corner.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger went all-out attack in the second half, sending on Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky hoping to at least cut the deficit in half heading into the second leg, and he got exactly that as Oxlade Chamberlain pulled one back in stoppage time with an excellent strike just inside the right post.
But Monaco answered quickly in stoppage time as Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco beat Ospina low to the far post to give his team a 3-1 lead.
"It's a historic night. Everything went wonderfully. We saw a very determined, well organized AS Monaco side," remarked H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco. " I never thought that one day I'd see the scoreboard at the Emirates Stadium read "3-1" to AS Monaco. It's the kind of game that gives you hope for the end of the season and for the future."
"We showed we're a good young team. We fought, we won our battles and we scored three goals," said Berbatov. "So I think we deserve this success against Arsenal. There's still one match left to play, and nothing's decided yet. Arsenal are still Arsenal."
A win for PSG could take the capital club into first place depending on Saturday's results, while a win for Monaco will take the principality side to 46 points.
Also on Sunday in Ligue 1, Nantes hosts Guingamp at the Stade de la Beaujoire, while Montpellier battles Nice at the Stade de la Mosson.
On Saturday, Lyon will try to extend their lead atop the table with a three- point effort against Lille at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole, Bordeaux battled Reims, Lens hosts Rennes, Lorient welcomes Bastia to the Stade du Moustoir, Metz hosts Evian and the day closes with Toulouse hosting Saint Etienne at the Stade Municipal de Toulouse.
Friday's action saw Caen rally from a 2-0 second-half deficit to claim a shock 3-2 win over Marseille at the Stade Velodrome courtesy of goals from Nicolas Seube, Emiliano Sala and Nicolas Benezet.