The Ligue 1 campaign got underway this weekend and it began exactly how it ended last season, shock results and lots of drama resulting in an exhilarating opening weekend which had everything; 25 goals, six red cards and four goals scored in the 90th minute.
Reigning champions Montpellier began their title defence with a 1-1 draw against Toulouse. From the first whistle both teams flew into full blooded challenges as the south of France rivalry heated up, eventually resulting in three red cards being issued. The home side took the lead around the half-hour mark as John Utaka freed Souleymane Camara and the Senegalese calmly lobbed the advancing Ahamada. But the champion’s joy was short-lived as Saihi was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Pantxi Sirieix just moments before half time. After the interval Toulouse pressed hard and were finally rewarded for their dominance when Ben Yedder headed home a close range header to level the match.
Toulouse could see three points on the horizon, but when Regattin fouled Congré, Toulouse were down to ten men, evening up the numbers. And just moments later a hat-trick of red cards was completed as Aurier was given his marching orders following a late challenge on Bédimo. But Toulouse held on to take a share of the points leaving Montpellier very disappointed.
Following their lavish spending spree PSG got their campaign underway but will be hugely disappointed following their 2-2 draw against French minnows Lorient. A Maxwell own goal opened the scoring before Aliadière doubled the away sides lead leaving the PSG faithful stunned. After the interval PSG hit back and inevitably it was debutant Ibrahimovic who started the comeback, calmly controlling the ball on his chest before sliding the ball past Audard. As the clock ticked down Lorient looked to be hanging on for a famous three points until Bourillon conceded a penalty gifting Ibrahimovic the chance to double his tally from the spot, a chance the Swede did not waste as PSG claimed a much deserved point sparing their blushes.
Lille look set to be the team battling it out with PSG at the top of the table and they began the campaign with a 2-1 win away at Saint-Etienne. The away side put in a solid performance sending out a clear message to PSG. After a competitive opening 45 minutes both teams went into half time with the scores level, but it did not take Lille long to respond to their half time team talk as they soon went in front after the interval. Dimitri Payet’s perfectly weighted free-kick fell found Aurélien Chedjou and the Cameroonian finished superbly putting the away side in front. Lifted by the home crowd, Saint-Etienne hit back. Romain Hamouma controlled the ball delightfully on his chest before executing an exquisite chip on his debut. And when the home side looked happy to settle for a point Lille snatched a winner at the death. Payet shimmied his was past several defenders before forcing Ruffier into a fantastic reflex save only for Pedretti to tap home the rebound, a cruel blow for Saint-Etienne who deserved a point.
Evian and Bordeaux contested a five goal thriller which went the way of Les Girondins. Ludovic Obraniak and Yoan Gouffran got on the score sheet with less than 15 minutes played, but the home side rallied and hit back three minutes later through Daniel Wass, his well struck free-kick was unstoppable giving the home side a glimmer of hope. After the interval Bordeaux restored their two goal lead, Evian were caught napping and Saivet headed home to seal all three points. With just seconds remaining Khlifa found the net, but it was too little too late as Bordeaux deservedly secured all three points.
Bastia marked their return to Ligue 1 with three points as they came from behind to beat Sochaux 3-2. Bastia went into the interval a goal down following Sloan Privat’s opener in the 13th minute. With an hour gone, Bastia hit back first as Anthony Modeste lobbed goalkeeper Pierrick Cros to level the scores. 15 minutes later and Bastia were at it again, this time Toifilou Maoulida headed home from close range to put the visitors ahead and just moments later he doubled his tally and Bastia’s lead with another well directed header. Sochaux were stunned but rallied together and on 89 minutes Thierry Doubai’s strike found the net gifting the home side a life line, but it was a dream start for Bastia as they held on to secure all three points.
Olympique Marseille started their season with a 1-0 at Reims. New manager Elie Baup was eager to secure three points at the first time of asking following their dreadful campaign last season. Reims put up a valiant fight on their return to Ligue 1 but they could not break down a solid OM defence. The away side were never at their best, but Benoît Cheyrou provided the quality needed to secure all three points. The French midfielder burst into the Reims box, finding himself unmarked he unleashed an amazing curling volley which nestled in the back of the net, it was a cruel blow for a resilient Reims side.
Yoann Gourcuff’s wonderful first half volley was enough to clinch all three points for Lyon as they faced a tough opening fixture at Rennes. Things were made easier for the away side as Jirès Kembo-Ekoko was shown a red card with 30 minutes gone for a high challenge on Lyon goalkeeper Rémy Vercoutre. Despite playing for more than an hour with ten men, Rennes’ defended miraculously, preventing Lyon from adding to their lead.
A 94th minute goal from Yohan Mollo was enough for Nancy as they cruelly beat the valiant Brest. A Single goal was also enough for Ajaccio as they beat Nice. Eduardo found the net on 11 minutes before teammate Mehdi Mostefa was sent off just after the interval. Despite playing 45 minutes with ten men, the away side held on to take all three points.
Newly promoted Troyes shot themselves in the foot as they were beaten 1-0 by Valenciennes courtesy of a Rincon own goal.