Monaco beat 10-man Nice, as Marseille coach Bielsa resigns in the French league
Monaco kicked off its French league campaign by beating 10-man Nice 2-1 in the Cote d’Azur derby while Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa resigned minutes after his side lost to Caen 1-0 on Saturday.
The former Argentina coach, widely credited for Marseille’s return to prominence last season, was out of contract in Marseille but said this week he had an agreement with club president Vincent Labrune to extend his tenure.
Bielsa, who took over in 2014, gave his resignation letter to Labrune before speaking at the post-match news conference.
“I have finished my work here, I will return to my home country,” Bielsa said.
Marseille players hit the woodwork twice and were booed off the pitch after losing their opening game. Bielsa’s new-look Marseille struggled to display its usual attacking brand of football at Stade Velodrome, and was given an early warning when goalkeeper Steve Mandanda’s superb save in the 15th minute denied a shot from the unmarked Vincent Bessat.
Marseille’s best chance came in the 22nd, but Benjamin Mendy’s half-volley from 25 meters struck the left post.
Moments later, forward Andy Delort unleashed a powerful strike from the edge of the box under Mandanda’s crossbar that silenced the home fans.
Marseille, which finished fourth last season but allowed Andre-Pierre Gignac, Andre Ayew, and Jeremy Morel to leave, dominated the second half, yet could not find a way past goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre, who made a fine save to tip Abdelaziz Barrada’s shot off the post with two minutes remaining.
In Nice, Valere Germain scored in the first half but the hosts were reduced to 10 men when Olivier Boscagli was sent off for a second yellow card before the interval.
Bernardo Silva leveled in the 51st, and defender Layvin Kurzawa headed the winner home.
Facing his former teammates, Germain, who joined Nice on loan this sea- son, converted his first chance to put the home side ahead with a shot in the top corner.
But after losing captain Mathieu Bodmer and keeper Simon Pouplin through injury, Nice was handed another blow just before halftime with Boscagli’s dismissal.
Promoted side Angers was in an uplifting mood after securing its first win in the topflight in 21 years, 2-0 at Montpellier. Angers celebrated its return among the elite with goals from Abdoul Razzagui Camara and Gilles Sunu.
Camara opened the scoring after five minutes with a left-footed strike after Montpellier defenders failed to clear the ball properly. Applying a heavy pressure, the visitors were then punished from a set-piece, with Sunu giving his side more room to breathe with a powerful strike that took a deflection and wrong-footed keeper Geoffrey Jourdren.
Chasing a fourth consecutive league title, Paris Saint-Germain started with a 1-0 win at Lille on Friday. Last season’s runner-up, Lyon, hosts Lorient on Sunday.