An inspired second half goal from Brazilian winger Lucas Moura got 10-man Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 title defence off to a 1-0 winning start at Lille.
The three-time Ligue 1 champions were a player down after half an hour after midfielder Adrien Rabiot was given his marching orders for two yellow cards.
Rabiot picked up the first on 22 minutes for a dangerous tackle on Lille midfielder Florent Balmont, and six minutes later was sent off by referee Fredy Fautrel for a foul on defender Sebastian Corchia.
The Parisians had been struggling to contain Lille who finished eighth last season and were playing their first competitive match under new coach Herve Renard.
But Lucas finally got the breakthrough after 57 minutes to give PSG their first away win in a season opener in 19 years.
A smart exchange of passes between Lucas and Edinson Cavani led to Serge Aurier releasing the Brazilian for him to round Vincent
Enyeama and finish.
The rest of the Ligue 1 fixtures take place today and tomorrow with Lyon and Marseille each looking to put difficult pre-seasons behind them.
Lyon’s second-placed finish last term established them as the leading challengers to PSG, and earned coach Hubert Fournier and his staff new contracts.
But a dismal pre-season campaign, with four defeats in five friendlies, was followed by a 2-0 loss to PSG in the Trophee des Champions, and club president Jean-Michel
Aulas questioned Fournier’s decision to give the club’s international players an extended break. But as he shifts his focus to tomorrow’s game against Lorient, he is remaining calm.
“We must move on,” Fournier told L’Equipe. “We have had to get the message through that everything starts again from zero.”
Marseille’s off-season troubles have centred on the transfer market, with six first-team players – Andre Ayew, Dimitri Payet, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Giannelli Imbula, Rod Fanni and Lyon new boy Jeremy Morel – departing.
Karim Rekik and Bouna Sarr could feature against Caen today but fellow new signings Lassana Diarra, Abou Diaby and Javier Manquillo are not yet available.
Monaco are the other likely challengers at the top of the table and coach Leonardo Jardim is optimistic ahead of their season-opening trip to Nice today. He said: “We have more offensive qualities this season, I have a lot of solutions.”
Other games see Bastia host Rennes and Nantes face Guingamp while tomorrow, St Etienne look to build on a fifth-place finish last season as they travel to Toulouse while Bordeaux host Reims.
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