PSG starts French league sea­son with 1-0 win at Lille

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Brazil­ian for­ward Lu­cas Moura net­ted the first goal of the French league sea­son to give 10-man Paris Saint-Ger­main a 1-0 win at Lille as the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons won on the open­ing day for the first time in five years.

PSG was forced to play with 10 men for more than one hour af­ter Adrien Rabiot was sent off in the 27th minute for a sec­ond yel­low card.

“Although we are still get­ting warmed up, our col­lec­tive and in­di­vid­ual level was high enough to con­trol the match,” PSG coach Lau­rent Blanc said.

PSG, which se­cured an un­prece­dented do­mes­tic tre­ble last sea­son and is chas­ing a fourth con­sec­u­tive league ti­tle, dom­i­nated but strug­gled to break the solid Lille de­fense un­til Lu­cas found a breach in the 57th minute with a low shot that con­cluded a bril­liant one-touch pass­ing move.

It was PSG’s 10th con­sec­u­tive league win, a record se­quence started in March.

Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic’s ab­sence be­cause of a knee in­jury was hardly no­ticed in the early stages as PSG im­me­di­ately took con­trol. Its first chance came af­ter just two min­utes when David Luiz’s lofted ball found Edin­son Ca­vani in an off­side po­si­tion that was not flagged. The Uruguay striker’s at­tempt was blocked and Lu­cas could not find a way past Lille de­fend­ers from the re­bound.

With PSG’s new winger An­gel Di Maria watch­ing from the stands, Ca­vani had another chance on the break five min­utes later but lost his bal­ance and fell in the box af­ter a slight con­tact with de­fender Ben­jamin Pavard. Ca­vani’s ap­peal for a penalty was turned down.

PSG’s dom­i­na­tion gave way to a good spell for Lille that re­sulted in an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of fouls from the visi­tors. Al­ready booked for a rough tackle on Florent Bal­mont, Rabiot was sent off when he pulled an op­po­nent’s shirt.

But Rabiot’s send­ing off had a pos­i­tive ef­fect on PSG play­ers, who looked more fo­cused af­ter­ward.

PSG kept press­ing hard af­ter the in­ter­val and fi­nally went ahead when Lu­cas pierced the mid­field bar­rier, passed the ball to Ca­vani and ran to­ward the goal to col­lect an as­sist from Blaise Ma­tu­idi. Rush­ing into the box at full speed, he easily rounded goal­keeper Vin­cent Enyeama and scored with a neat fin­ish.

Lille play­ers laid siege of the visi­tors’ de­fense in the fi­nal 20 min­utes but PSG new keeper Kevin Trapp was hardly tested.

“We should have been more ag­gres­sive in the du­els. It’s dif­fi­cult against PSG when you don’t take any risk,” said Lille new coach Herve Re­nard, who led Ivory Coast to the Africa Cup of Na­tions ti­tle this year.

Last sea­son’s run­ner-up Lyon hosts Lori­ent on Sun­day while Monaco trav­els to Nice on Satur­day.

(Right) PSG’s Serge Aurier, left, heads the ball as he col­lides with Eric Bautheac of Lille, dur­ing the French League one soc­cer match be­tween Lille and Paris Saint Ger­main, Fri­day.

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