Week 1 review: Lacazette fires Lyon into the lead
By S. Willis
Thanks to their 3-0 win in Nancy, Olympique Lyonnais top the table after the opening weekend of the 2016-17 season, with champions Paris Saint-Germain besting Bastia 1-0 and promoted Metz clinching a 3-2 thriller at home to LOSC.
There were plenty of goals as the Ligue 1 season got off to a great start over the weekend, but three of the most notable came from the boot of OL hitman Alexandre Lacazette, who took care of all the scoring in his side's 3-0 win away to promoted AS Nancy Lorraine on Sunday afternoon.
Bruno Genesio's men were a far cry from the side that were steamrolled 4-1 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Trophée des Champions a week previous, and Lacazette in particular looked razor-sharp as he rattled home three goals (33', 44', 90'+2) to take a big step towards matching his 21-goal haul from last season.
"It was important to come here and win and doing it by a margin of three goals and playing well is good," said OL boss Bruno Genesio, who is starting his first full season as OL coach. "Now we need to focus on the next match at the Parc OL because if we want to be up there near the top of the table then we need to be consistent. It was only the first game but it was important to bounce back after being shipwrecked against Paris in the Trophée des Champions."
Paris Saint-Germain may not have shown the free-scoring form away to Bastia that they produced in Klagenfurt a week ago, but Unai Emery's men did give the Basque coach a win for his Ligue 1 debut. Left-back Layvin Kurzawa put paid to an heroic defensive performance from the Corsican club with a deft finish after new recruit Jesé's effort was parried into his path by Jean-Louis Leca.
"We're very happy to have won. The context of the game made things difficult, with a lot of pressure from our opponents and the fans," said Emery after the hard-fought encounter played without injured stars Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva. "That said, the three points will give us confidence. I'm happy with the work put in, the tactical work we have done and very happy with the way the players who came off the bench adapted."
Goal-fests in Metz, Bordeaux
PSG's next test will come in the form of FC Metz, the promoted club who got their season off to a flyer as Yann Jouffre's 88th-minute penalty clinched a 3-2 win over LOSC at the Stade Saint-Symphorien on Saturday night. The former Lorient captain's goal settled the duel between Metz striker Mevlut Erding (56', 76', pen.) and LOSC forward Rony Lopes (35', 70').
It was the same scoreline at the Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux, where new Girondins coach Jocelyn Gourvennec's men looked good as they carved out a three-goal lead before showing some worrying signs in defence as they allowed Saint-Etienne - who take on Beitar Jerusalem in the Europa League play-offs on Thursday - to score two headers late on in the piece.
"The players played the game I expected, with cohesion on the collective level. We showed a lot of desire and when you show a lot of desire on the opening day you can leave yourself open," conceded the former Guingamp boss, for whose side Brazilian Malcom's sweet free-kick (72') was the pick of the bunch. "But we scored three goals, and a game like this is somewhat inevitable in the first game of the season. It's hard to control everything. A game is never finished. We were 3-0 up 15 minutes from the end and it ended 3-2. It could have been 3-3."
The weekend's third 3-2 thriller was played out between SM Caen and ten-man FC Lorient in Normandy on Saturday, an early Benjamin Moukandjo double (5', 19') handing the visiting Merlus a 2-0 lead before a red card for Zargo Touré (26') changed the match. Rony Rodelin hit back (32') before newly signed Croatian Ivan Santini levelled (43') and then bagged the winner with just minutes left (87') to complete the comeback.
AS Monaco also had to come from behind as they got a 2-2 opening-day scare at home to Guingamp. Portugal international Bernardo Silva, still searching for full fitness after the injury that prevented him from being part of the side that won Euro 2016 over the summer, came off the bench to win a penalty and score a late leveller and the talented 22-year-old is a strong chance to figure for the principality club in the first leg of their Champions League play-off with Villareal on Wednesday.
Olympique de Marseille, who had no fewer than 12 players leave over the summer, were hoping that newly signed France striker Bafétimbi Gomis could help them get off to a winning start at home to Toulouse, but Pascal Dupraz's visitors, who pulled off an amazing escape act to beat the drop last season, showed plenty of steel in defence and the match finished 0-0.
Meanwhile last season's surprise packet Angers got off to a less-than-ideal start as Ryad Boudebouz's lone strike (8') clinched a 1-0 home win for Montpellier; while FC Nantes followed PSG's lead with a 1-0 win away to promoted Dijon. A much-changed OGC Nice had 17-year-old striker Malang Sarr's first-ever Ligue 1 goal to thank for a 1-0 win at home to Brittany side Rennes.