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10-man PSG make winning start to Ligue 1 campaign

August 08, 2015 13:07 IST
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PSG's Edison Cavani makes a dash for the ball in their Ligue 1 season-opening match against Lille on Friday

PSG's Edison Cavani makes a dash for the ball in their Ligue 1 season-opening match against Lille on Friday. Photograph: PSG/Twitter

Ten-man Paris St Germain got the defence of their Ligue 1 title off to a good start when Lucas’s second-half strike earned them a 1-0 win at Lille on Friday.

The champions, who began the three previous seasons with a draw, had midfielder Adrien Rabiot sent off in the 28th minute for two bookings but Brazil midfielder Lucas secured all three points with a goal just before the hour.

PSG were without injured striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic but they still looked a cut above their opponents in the season curtain-raiser at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in northern France.

Laurent Blanc’s PSG side were at times shaken by Lille but their defence held firm and they only needed one clear chance to take advantage despite going down to 10 men.

Youngster Rabiot was booked twice in seven minutes as PSG, with their new recruit from Manchester United, Angel Di Maria, watching from the stands, dominated the early exchanges.

Edinson Cavani, operating as a lone striker, was again guilty of missing a clear chance in the 26th minute.

It was Lille who had the first shot on target when Benjamin Corchia’s long-range strike was blocked by Kevin Trapp, though that was as close as the hosts came to scoring.

PSG looked more comfortable in midfield after Blanc brought on the experienced Thiago Motta for Javier Pastore at halftime.

They clearly had the upper hand and in the 57th minute, Lucas controlled Blaise Matuidi’s defence-splitting pass and rounded Vincent Enyeama before scoring into an empty net.

Looking to avoid another sending off, Blanc replaced Marco Verratti, the Italian having been booked, and handed Benjamin Stambouli his debut after his transfer from Tottenham Hotspur.

Last year’s runners-up Olympique Lyonnais start their campaign on Sunday at home against Lorient.

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