Ligue 1 is back. After another summer where the headlines have been on high-spending PSG, the teams finally began to take some shape as they made attempts to get some early points on the board.
This seemed to be at the expense of overall team discipline with six red cards shown over the course of the first round of fixtures in the 2012-13 season. The opening weekend also saw six sides win away from home.
On Friday night, champions Montpellier took on Toulouse in a match which ended in a 1-1 draw. Souleymane Camara opened the scoring for the champions but the club’s French-born Tunisia international Jamel Saihi was shown a red card less than five minutes later.
21 year-old midfielder Wissam Ben Yedder pulled Toulouse level in the second half but chances of a comeback looked slim, especially as Toulouse were reduced to nine men by the end of the 90 minutes. Youngsters Adrien Regattin and Serge Aurier were the two players on the receiving end of these red cards.
Nancy left it late to beat Brest. Just as the match looked to be heading for a goalless draw Yohan Mollo found the back of the net. Mollo impressed in the tail end of last season for Nancy when on loan at the club following an unhappy spell in La Liga with Granada.
Corsican side Ajaccio were 1-0 winners over Nice thanks to an early Eduardo goal. Claude Puel, former Lyon and Lille boss, made his Ligue 1 return as manager of Nice but will not be best pleased with his sides efforts in this confrontation.
Midfielder Mehdi Mostefa was sent off early in the second half for Ajaccio but Nice were ultimately unable to take advantage.
Lorient almost staged an upset as PSG showcased their new talent at the Parc des Princes. Marco Verratti, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were all in PSG’s starting line-up but the tone for the match was set very early in the game when defender Maxwell scored an own goal to put Lorient in front.
Things were made worse when former Arsenal and Middlesbrough forward Jeremie Aliadiere doubled the away side’s advantage during stoppage time in the first half.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came up with the goods in the second half by scoring both PSG goals, one of which came from the penalty spot, in order to ensure a point for the favourites.
Lorient will be aggrieved that a two goal lead was let slip but also that they were unable to keep all ten men on the field to see out a victory as defender Gregory Bourillon was sent off with just two minutes remaining in normal time.
It was the resulting penalty which allowed Ibrahimovic to earn the point for the capital-city club.
Lyon were victors away to Rennes, though they made tough work of the 1-0 victory.
Yoann Gourcuff scored the only goal of the game but Lyon had plenty of chances to extend the lead. Young Alexandre Lacazette was impressive, putting in a number of crosses and acting as an attacking outlet for the period he was on the field.
Rennes were reduced to ten men after half an hour when Jires Kembo-Ekoko was given a red card for a high boot on Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre.
Lille got their campaign underway with a 2-1 win over St Etienne. Defender Aurelien Chedjou struck on the hour mark to give Lille the advantage before St Etienne’s new signing Romain Hamouma equalised. Midfielder Benoit Pedretti sealed the three points for Lille with a strike in added time.
Newly promoted Bastia showed determination as they defeated Sochaux 3-2. It was Sochaux, however, who struck first when Sloan Privat’s shot found the back of the net.
Bastia came out fighting in the second half and equalised on the hour mark when Anthony Modeste’s shot hit the back of the net. A double from journeyman Toifilou Maoulida extended the lead almost out of Sochaux’s reach but they attempted a comeback late in the game.
Thierry Doubai was able to pull one goal back late in the match but the side were unable to snatch the point.
Fortunes were not the same for another of the promoted sides as Troyes lost at home against Valenciennes. An own goal from Brazilian defender Rincon spoiled the party on the side’s return to Ligue 1 football.
The final match of the opening weekend saw Reims, promoted from Ligue 2, take on Marseille. The score remained level until relatively late in the match when a fine volley from Benoit Cheyrou gave Marseille the lead and the victory.
Results: Montpellier 1-1 Toulouse; Evian 2-3 Bordeaux; Nancy 1-0 Brest; Nice 0-1 Ajaccio; PSG 2-2 Lorient; Rennes 0-1 Lyon; St Etienne 1-2 Lille; Sochaux 2-3 Bastia; Troyes 0-1 Valenciennes; Reims 0-1 Marseille
Good week for Corsica: They may be predicted to finish in the bottom half of the table but both Ajaccio and Bastia earned themselves opening-day victories in their respective fixtures.
Bad week for home sides: Only one side was able to win at home this weekend, perhaps a sign that we may be in for another unpredictable season in Ligue 1.
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