Lille began their Ligue 1 campaign with a bang, seeing off visitors Nantes 3-0 in Claudio Ranieri’s first competitive game in charge.
After finishing a disappointing 11th and five points behind their opponents last season, Lille hired Argentine coach Marcelo — known as “El Loco Bielsa” (Crazy Bielsa) to his fans — with the aim of returning to the Champions League while playing an exciting brand of football.
Lille also recruited more than a dozen new players, and the northern club’s squad appears to have gelled.
Paraguayan international Junior Alonso got the ball rolling three minutes after half-time.
Nicolas de Preville made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 67th minute with Anwar El-Ghazi adding the gloss three minutes later.
The match also featured a duel between Bielsa and another prominent coach, Italian Claudio Ranieri.
The managers, who had a quick chat before the game, returned to the French top flight after spending several years away.
Clinton Njie marked his permanent move to Marseille by scoring twice in a 3-0 victory over Dijon.
Marseille had huffed and puffed during a goalless first half against opponents who were almost relegated last season.
But Njie, introduced at half-time in place of a disappointing Dimitri Payet, provided the penetration Marseille had been missing, scoring twice.
Former Newcastle forward Florian Thauvin also on target scoring the second goal.
Summer signing Baptiste Guillaume struck late on to earn Angers a 2-2 home draw against Bordeaux.
Angers took an 11th-minute lead when Pierrick Capelle’s cross found its way to Angelo Fulgini, who finished through the legs of Benoit Costil for his first goal in Ligue 1.
But Bordeaux were ahead after Younousse Sankhare turned in Francois Kamano’s cross and Alexandre Mendy scored on debut following his move from Guingamp.
Bordeaux looked as if they would hold on to the points, but two minutes from time Costil palmed out a Karl Toko Ekambi shot and Guillaume could not miss.
Neymar stole the show without even playing as Paris Saint-Germain began their Ligue 1 campaign with a 2-0 victory over Amiens.
The world-record signing was not registered in time to take part in the game but received a hero’s welcome on a tour of the Parc des Princes pitch before kick-off.
It was a daunting Ligue 1 debut for Amiens, who snatched promotion from Ligue 2 in the final seconds of last season to reach the top division for the first time.
But they were not embarrassed despite PSG dominating both possession and chances.
The opening goal came in the 41st minute from Edinson Cavani, who turned in a cross from Dani Alves – PSG’s other high-profile Brazilian signing who was eligible to play.
It was not until 10 minutes from time that the hosts doubled their lead, Marco Verratti unselfishly finding Javier Pastore, who had the simple task of slotting home.
Nice, who flew out of the blocks last season and were long-time leaders of Ligue 1, suffered a 1-0 defeat to St Etienne, with Jonathan Bamba scoring the only goal in the fourth minute.
It was a fine start to his St Etienne managerial career for Oscar Garcia, who joined the club in June from Red Bull Salzburg.
Michel Der Zakarian quit Reims to become the new manager of Montpellier in May and he also made a winning start, with Souleymane Camara’s 59th-minute goal enough in a 1-0 win over Caen.
Lyon were the biggest winners of the opening weekend after beating newly-promoted Strasbourg 4-0.
Strasbourg have had four promotions in six seasons and are back in the top flight for the first time since 2008, but it was a sobering first outing.
Mariano Diaz made a great start to life in Ligue 1 after signing from Real Madrid this summer with goals in the 23rd and 62nd minutes.
Nabil Fekir also grabbed a brace, netting in the 59th minute from the penalty spot and then rounding off the rout in injury time.
Troyes were the only one of the promoted trio to claim a point thanks to a 1-1 draw with Rennes.
Samuel Grandsir gave Troyes the lead just after half-time but Jordan Tell equalised in the 69th minute.
It was a fine start to the season for Guingamp, who came from a goal down to defeat Metz 3-1 at the Stade Saint-Symphorien.
Nolan Roux put the hosts one up in the 14th minute but Guingamp were level at the break thanks to Jimmy Briand’s penalty.
It was all square until 20 minutes from time when Ludovic Blas put the visitors ahead and Moustapha Diallo made sure of the points five minutes from time.
Monaco came from behind on two occasions to open their Ligue 1 title defence with a thrilling 3-2 victory against Toulouse on Friday night.
Zinedine Machach netted for the visitors after just six minutes at the Stade Louis II Stadium before Jemerson levelled for the champions with a header after 28 minutes.
Andy Delort stunned the hosts once more after he put Toulouse back in front with 53 minutes gone only for Radamel Falcao to head Monaco back on level terms shortly before the hour mark.
Kamil Glik nodded home Joao Moutinho’s free-kick from close range with 20 minutes remaining to complete Monaco’s comeback and kick-start their campaign with three points.
Monaco’s thrilling five-goal victory however, was tainted after an injury sustained by Kylian Mbappe in the second half.
Mbappe, the 18-year-old linked with a move to Real Madrid and Barcelona, left the field after 74 minutes with an apparent knee injury and was replaced by Allan Saint-Maximin.
Speaking afterwards, Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim said:
“It’s the first match of the season so there is a change in intensity. I don’t think the injury is too bad. He’ll be better in two or three days.”
Mbappe scored 26 goals in 44 appearances for Monaco last season and was handed the club’s number 10 shirt for the season.”
Monaco 3 – 2 Toulouse
Paris Saint Germain 2 – 0 Amiens
Lyon 4 – 0 Strasbourg
Metz 1 – 3 Guingamp
Montpellier 1 – 0 Caen
Saint-Etienne 1 – 0 Nice
Troyes 1 – 1 Rennes
Lille 3 – 0 Nantes
Angers 2 – 2 Bordeaux
Marseille 3 – 0 Dijon