Angers get the better of Bordeaux
Angers SCO got their season off to a dream start with a 3-1 win over Paulo Sousa's Bordeaux, coming from behind thanks to goals from Jeff Reine-Adélaïde, Mathias Pereira Lage and Thomas Mangani.
Angers SCO 3 - 1 Girondins de Bordeaux
While Bordeaux boss Paulo Sousa was looking to work new faces such as South Korean forward Eui-Jo Hwang and Mozambique defender Mexer while trying to break a run of seven defeats in their last eight Ligue 1 Conforama outings, stalwart Angers boss Stéphane Moulin saw his road-tested squad get right down to business on the opening day of the season.
De Préville screamer
However, it was Bordeaux who made the early running, with Nicolas De Préville converting their dominance onto the scoreboard with a thundering free-kick that cannoned in off the left-hand post when the match was just four minutes old (4').
Things could have been very different for Les Girondins had Jimmy Briand - the league's second-top currently active goal scorer (92 career goals in Ligue 1 Conforama) - managed to get hi shot past Ludovic Butelle rather than tipped over the bar (6').
Mathias Pereira Lage, a summer induction from Clermont Foot (D2), shone brightly on debut for Angers and provided their way back into the match, crossing deftly from the right to set up rising star Jeff Reine-Adélaïde for a simple finish (27').
The Franco-Portuguese winger then found his own way goalwards and confirmed his quality with a powerful 20-metre drive that left Bordeaux captain Benoît Costil little chance (33'). With the game seemingly under control, Moulin's men made sure to go into the break 3-1 up as Mangani got on the end of some more fine work from Reine-Adélaïde to slot home from close range (45').
Although the scoreline remained that way until the final whistle, it could have been 4-1 had the ubiquitous Reine-Adélaïde not seen an effort rule out for off-side (54') nor skied a sitter minutes later (57'). Angers will no doubt be full of confidence for their Week 2 trip to Lyon, while Bordeaux will need to regroup effectively ahead of Saturday's south-western derby at home to Montpellier.
THE PLAYER: Jeff Reine-Adélaïde
Angers will certainly be hoping to hang onto rangy attacking midfielder Jeff Reine-Adélaïde until the transfer window closes at the end of August, but with performances like this one, they will have their work cut out to keep the former Arsenal and France youth set-up stalwart.
The 21-year-old began to hit his straps towards the end of last season and now seems set to power on, showing the pace and positional sense to get on the end of the excellent Pereira Lage's cross with enough time for a calmly volleyed finish. He was involved in the majority of his side's dangerous moves and looks set for a big season. Hot property!
THE STAT: 9
Angers SCO coach Stéphane Moulin is in his ninth season in charge of the club's first team, having signed on as head coach in 2011 after five years as the reserve-team coach of the club he played for as a midfielder in the late 80s. He took the club back to the top flight from Domino's Ligue 2 in 2015 and has kept them there ever since, taking them to a ninth-placed finish in 2016 - the club's best position since 1981.