The Ligue 1 2016/17 season began last weekend and there were plenty of goals in the first round of fixtures.
Friday 12 August
Bastia 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain Venue – Stade Armand Cesari
Champions PSG kicked off the new campaign with a victory at the Stade Armand Cesari as they defeated Bastia. This is a new era for the French giants as they return with a new manager in Unai Emery and without their star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic after his transfer to Manchester United.
The hosts allowed PSG to keep possession of the ball but they were threatening on the break. Sadio Diallo and Enzo Crivelli both came close to testing Kevin Trapp in the visitors’ goal. Angel Di Maria came closest for Les Parisians but an in-form Jean-Louis Leca prevented the Argentine from finding the net on a number of occasions.
Layvin Kurzawa broke the deadlock with just over a quarter of an hour left to play. Leca did well to deny Jese but couldn’t prevent Kurzawa’s volley on the rebound. It was a routine start for PSG as they sit 8th in the league, while Bastia can take a lot of positives away from this game despite being 19th.
Monaco 2-2 Guingamp Venue – Stade Louis II
Both Monaco and Guingamp will be disappointed with their start to the new season, especially the visitors as they squandered a two-goal lead at the Stade Louis II.
The first goal of the game came from Moustapha Diallo, showing composure to receive the ball from Jimmy Briand before firing an unstoppable volley past Danijel Subasic. The home side were shocked once again as Guingamp doubled their lead. A passage of great link-up play between Marcus Coco and Lucas Devaux led to the latter delivering the ball for new signing Sloan Privat to head home.
Leonardo Jardim’s side responded in the second half however as they were given a lifeline when Bernardo Silva was brought down by Ludovic Blas in the area; a chance Fabinho took to get Monaco back in the game. The comeback was complete with just five minutes remaining as Nabil Dirar picked out Silva to earn a share of the points. The result leaves Monaco and Guingamp 9th and 10th in the table respectively.
Saturday 13 August
Bordeaux 3-2 Saint-Étienne Venue – Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux
Bordeaux began the new season with a victory over Saint-Étienne on home turf, although they had to settle for a more nervy finish to the game than they would have liked.
Les Girondins raced into an early lead when Gaetan Labourde scored his first Ligue 1 goal with a header from Thomas Toure’s free-kick after just 13 minutes. It looked as though it was going to be a comfortable victory for Bordeaux as they went three goals ahead. Laboured turned provider to set up strike partner Diego Rolan early in the second half, before Malcolm added a third with a well-taken free-kick.
Les Verts began to fight back in the final ten minutes of the game as Romain Hamouma found the net in the 81st and Alexander Soderlund reduced the deficit even further in the 89th. These proved to be no more than consolation goals for Saint-Étienne as Bordeaux held on for the three points. This result left Bordeaux 2nd at the end of the opening weekend while Saint-Étienne are down in 14th.
Caen 3-2 Lorient Venue – Stade Michel d’Ornano
Another five-goal thriller came at the Stade Michel d’Ornano where Lorient were defeated by Caen. It was Lorient who came flying out of the blocks as they earned themselves a two-goal lead inside the opening 20 minutes.
Both of the visitors’ goals were scored by Benjamin Moukandjo, the second from a spot-kick, as it looked like it was going to be the perfect start to the season for Lorient. The game changed midway through the first period with the dismissal of Zargo Toure, giving Caen a route back into the match.
It didn’t take long for the momentum to shift as Ronny Rodelin and Ivan Santini got the hosts on level terms before the half-time interval. Just as it appeared the game might end in a draw, Santini popped up to score a second and win the match for Caen with a close range effort, marking the perfect Ligue 1 debut for the Croatian. The hosts are 3rd in the league standings while Lorient are 15th.
Dijon 0-1 Nantes Venue – Stade Gaston Gérard
Ligue 1 new boys Dijon didn’t get off to the best of starts as they were beaten by Nantes at the Stade Gaston Gérard.
Les Canaris carried on where they left off as the previous campaign saw few goals but a strong defence. Nantes didn’t create many chances but went close through a Valentin Rongier free-kick. The breakthrough came just after half-time when summer signing Nicolaj Thomsen headed home a Jules Iloki delivery.
Dijon’s only real chance of equalising was through a Dylan Bahamboula shot which was comfortably saved by Remy Riou. Dijon are outside of the relegation zone at least, in 16th, while Nantes’ positive start earns them 7th place in the table.
Metz 3-2 Lille Venue – Stade Saint-Symphorien
Another newcomer in the top flight this season is Metz and they got off to a dream start by beating Europe chasing Lille.
The visitors took the lead shortly before the break when Rony Lopes struck the opener. Metz came back after half-time and equalised through Mevlut Erdinc following a well-worked move. They weren’t level for long however as Lille retook the lead through Lopes once more, converting confidently after a great pass from Eder.
Good fortunes were obviously with the home side as they were awarded two penalties in the latter stages. Erdinc added his second from the spot in the 76th-minute to make it a brace on his Metz debut, before Yann Jouffre also converted his penalty to get the win for the newly promoted side with little time remaining. Lille’s position of 13th doesn’t look too worrying at this early stage, however they might be a bit tentative with last season’s disastrous start in the back of their minds. Metz will be delighted after finishing the opening weekend in 4th spot.
Montpellier 1-0 Angers Venue – Stade de la Mosson
Montpellier got off to a winning start and look to be beginning this campaign a lot better than the previous one after defeating Angers at the Stade de la Mosson.
It was an early strike from Ryad Boudebouz that settled the game after just eight minutes with a great finish from the edge of the box.
Angers threatened to score throughout the game but Toko Ekambi saw two efforts narrowly miss the target, while Pierrick Capelle couldn’t find a way past Geoffrey Jourdren in the Montpellier goal. The visitors’ second season back in Ligue 1 has started disappointingly as they sit 18th, while Montpellier’s victory leaves them 6th.
Sunday 14 August
Nancy 0-3 Lyon Venue – Stade Marcel Picot
Nancy were dealt a harsh welcome to Ligue 1 as Lyon won emphatically on their visit to the Stade Marcel Picot.
After a lot of speculation regarding his future at Lyon, Alexandre Lacazette showed his desire to play for Les Gones by scoring a hat-trick on the opening weekend. Nancy had a couple of early chances and asked questions of Lyon with Anthony Koura and Modou Diagne going close.
Lacazette is proving to be prolific once again after a consistent number of seasons. The Frenchman opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark when he pounced on a loose ball following Sergi Darder’s save. He then added a second in bizarre fashion when the ball bounced straight over the Nancy defence to leave him unmarked. Lacazette completed his hat-trick in second half stoppage time when Jordan Ferri unselfishly presented him with a chance he couldn’t miss. Lyon march straight to the top of the league, while Nancy look to a tough season ahead as they remain rock bottom.
Nice 1-0 Rennes Venue – Allianz Riviera
Despite losing Hatem Ben Arfa to PSG, Nice still look good and began this season with a win against Rennes on home soil.
Yoann Gourcuff threatened early on for Rennes with a volley while Nice also had chances of their own after Dalbert Henrique couldn’t quite open the scoring. The only goal of the game came on the hour mark when 17-year-old defender Malang Sarr headed Jean Michael Seri’s free-kick past Benoit Costil.
Rennes drop to 17th and will look to get over this result quickly as Nice will be content with their opening game after moving to 5th in the league standings.
Marseille 0-0 Toulouse Venue – Stade Vélodrome
Two sides that struggled greatly in the previous campaign met at the Stade Vélodrome to begin this season, but there was no separating Marseille and Toulouse.
Les Olympiens’ poor home form looks to have continued as they created very few chances in this match. The closest they came was Remy Cabella hitting the post and Bafetimbi Gomis’ efforts being saved by Alban Lafont.
Toulouse threatened to break the deadlock through Martin Braithwaite and Oscar Trejo but there was to be no winner for either side. An unbeaten start and a clean sheet provides plenty of positive outlooks for both teams, as Toulouse sit 11th and Marseille are just behind in 12th.