Ligue 1: PSG off to Winning Start, Marseille’s Bielsa Resigns

Aug 10, 2015 by Alex Baker

Ligue 1 Champions Paris Saint-Germain kicked off the new season on Friday with a 1-0 win away at Lille. The champions got their campaign underway without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was deemed unfit, and without new signing Angel Di Maria. They ultimately had to do without midfielder Adrien Rabiot as well, after the 20-year-old was shown a red card in the 28th minute.

The Parisians eventually took the lead about 15 minutes into the second half when Lucas Moura raced onto a through ball from Blaise Matuidi, rounded Lille keeper Vincent Enyeama, and slotted home the game’s only goal. PSG have a habit of dropping points on opening day and for a time it looked like they might again. But even with a man advantage Lille were incapable of truly troubling PSG, although striker Sehrou Guirassy forced Paris defender Thiago Silva to make a diving intervention at one point. In the end, even with only 10 on the pitch, Laurent Blanc’s team simply had too much quality of Lille and saw out their slim lead for their first opening day win in five season.

Bielsa Resigns After Marseille Loss
In somewhat of a shock move, Olympique de Marseille manager Marcelo Bielsa tendered his resignation immediately following Marseille’s home loss to Caen on Saturday. The visitors took the lead in the 27th minute through a striker from Andy Delort. In the end, a single goal was all that was needed with Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi spurning a number of good chances.

After the match, Bielsa read his resignation statement aloud to the press. Although the Marseille board had already been informed, the players hadn’t. Bielsa cited issues with his contract as the reason for his departure. However Bielsa the former Argentina and Atletico Madrid manager has been continually linked with the Mexican national team of late following the sacking of El Tri coach, Miguel Herrera. Bielsa’s loss throws Marseille even further into the deep end following a summer exodus of players that saw star forwards Andre-Pierre Gignac and Andre Ayew leave the club, along with winger Dimitri Payet, and defenders Rod Fanni and Jeremy Morel.

Lyon Fail to Fire Against Lyon
Last season’s runner-up, Lyon, were held to a scoreless draw at home in their opening fixture against Lorient. While the club had been bolstered by the news that Premier League transfer target Alexander Lacazette had signed a four-year contract extension, there was little to get excited about in an encounter in which neither side could break the deadlock. Although Lyon created a number of good first-half chances, there was no beating Lorient keeper Benjamin Lecomte. More troubling than being held to a draw was the sight of Lacazette leaving the pitch in obvious pain clutching his lower back late in the second half. As of yet, there is no word on the striker’s condition.

Monaco Keep on Keeping On
Popular narrative had it that Monaco would be dead and buried last season after the departures of star players James Rodrigues and Falcao, but they still managed a respectable third-place finish last season and kicked off the new campaign with a well-won 2-1 victory away at Nice. It could easily have gone the other way when the home side took the lead through Valere Germain’s seventh-minute strike; however the game turned for the visitors when Nice defender Olivier Boscagli was sent off shortly before halftime. Monaco substitute Bernardo Silva equalized barely five minutes into the second half before Layvin Karzawa eventually netted the winner just past the half-hour mark.

(Round One Results: Lille 0-1 PSG, Bastia 2-1 Stade Rennes, Marseille 0-1 Caen, Montpellier 0-2 Angers, Nantes 1-0 Guingamp, Nice 1-2 AS Monaco, Troyes 0-0 Ajaccio, Bordeaux 1-2 Stade de Reims, Toulouse 2-1 St. Etienne, Lyon 0-0 Lorient)

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