Lyon still believe in Champions League qualification

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LYON, France, Oct 3 (Reuters) Olympique Lyon, who slumped to a shock 3-0 home defeat to Rangers, believe they still have a slim chance of qualifying for the Champions League knockout phase.

The six-times French champions, who have progressed beyond the group stages for the past four seasons, were nowhere to be seen at their Gerland stadium, losing yesterday against a team that had not won a Champions League game away from Ibrox Park since 2000.

''There is still hope, we will give all we have,'' club chairman Jean-Michel Aulas told reporters after the match.

Lyon are bottom of Group E after conceding six goals from two matches and scoring none.

''The competition has just started. We have seen tonight that it can go either way,'' said coach Alain Perrin.

However, Lyon seem much weaker than last year, when the pairing of French internationals Eric Abidal and Florent Malouda on the left flank was devastating.

Abidal left for Barcelona during the close season while Malouda joined Chelsea. Left back Abidal was replaced by Fabio Grosso, who has failed to make an impact, and the gap left by Malouda's departure has yet to be filled.

Lyon next play away to German champions VfB Stuttgart, who have also lost their two opening matches.

REUTERS BJR PM1541

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