Montpellier win it for Nicollin
Montpellier paid the perfect tribute to the late Louis Nicollin as a Souleymane Camara goal was enough for Michel Der Zakarian's side to beat Caen 1-0.
Montpellier Hérault SC 1-0 SM Caen
MHSC founder Nicollin died on June 29 and there was a vibrant homage to the charismatic former president who passed away on his 74th birthday. A minute's silence was held and all the Montpellier players sported shirts with "Loulou", Nicollin's affectionate nickname, on the back of them.
With Ryad Boudebouz on the verge of completing a move to Betis and Steve Mounié, last season's top scorer, having joined Huddersfield, MHSC were in need of new attacking inspiration.
Kévin Bérigaud, back from a season on loan at Angers, had three presentable first-half chances and failed to find the target with any of them, shooting wide when free in the 34th minute and heading awry soon after having also eluded the Caen marking.
Caen coach Patrice Garande, in the final year of his contract, is under pressure to make a good start to the season and the strain on him rose in the 59th minute when Souleymane Camara headed home a magnificent Bérigaud cross from the left, beating Rémy Vercoutre, who made his Ligue 1 debut for Montpellier back in 1998-1999.
The hosts almost added another late on but Paul Lasne was denied by good defending from Frédéric Guilbert. Caen had offered little going forward and were bit-part players in a night of tribute to Nicollin.
THE PLAYER: Souleymane Camara
It was fitting that the winner was scored by one of the players who helped Montpellier to their shock 2012 title. Camara's goal was a personal milestone as it made the 34-year-old Senegalese the club's record scorer in the top flight. The header against Caen was his 48th goal in Ligue 1, breaking Laurent Blanc's longstanding club best.
THE STAT: 3
Montpellier have only won three of their last 13 Ligue 1 matches and two of those successes have been against Caen. MHSC won 2-0 in Normandy in early April.