PARIS (AFP) –
Lyon kept their unbeaten start to the new Ligue 1 campaign going thanks to a 3-2 home win against Valenciennes on Saturday, as champions Montpellier recorded an overdue first victory.
Lyon lost France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night, but they went back to the top of the table after coming from behind against Valenciennes at the Stade de Gerland.
Lloris took to the pitch to wave goodbye after a four-year spell in which he has emerged as one of the finest goalkeepers on the continent, and he watched on as his successor between the posts gifted the visitors the opener.
Long-time back-up Remy Vercoutre, who had made just 40 top-flight appearances in a decade at the club, hesitated at a corner, allowing Brazilian defender Gil to head home.
But a Lyon side missing the injured Lisandro Lopez and Yoann Gourcuff as well as Lloris hit back quickly and found themselves in front by the midway point in the first half thanks to a Michel Bastos strike and a penalty from France striker Bafetimbi Gomis.
A stunning long-range hit from young playmaker Clement Grenier, who Lyon tried to offload to Nice last month, allowed the hosts to extend their lead midway through the second half before Gregory Pujol pulled another one back towards the end.
The win leaves Lyon top with 10 points from four games.
“We are enjoying a good start to the season. Our objective was to get to eight points after four games and we have gone beyond that,” said OL coach Remi Garde.
“There was a lot of emotion before the game what with losing Hugo after the season had already started. It was difficult for him, for the other players and particularly for Remy Vercoutre, who I know will do well for us.
“We all really liked Hugo and he gave us so much.”
After a slow start to the campaign, champions Montpellier registered their first win as they downed Sochaux 3-1 at the Stade Bonal.
A Younes Belhanda penalty set Rene Girard’s side on their way in the first half before Argentine summer signing Emanuel Herrera netted his second Ligue 1 goal just before the hour mark.
Sloan Privat pulled one back but Remy Cabella made sure of the win and left Sochaux bottom, still without a point after four matches.
Lorient climbed up to third place after veteran Ludovic Giuly set them on their way to a 3-0 home triumph against Nancy thanks to his first Ligue 1 goal since February last year.
Lamine Kone added a second for the Breton outfit before Alain Traore made up for a first-half penalty miss by curling in a stunning third from a late free-kick.
There was no shortage of fine goals elsewhere, with early-season revelation Wissam Ben Yedder volleying in at the death to earn Toulouse a 1-1 draw at home to Reims, who had taken the lead through an Aymen Abdennour own-goal.
A wonderful acrobatic finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came in between efforts from Renaud Cohade and Josuha Guilavogui as Saint-Etienne crushed Bastia 3-0 in Corsica.
Bastia’s island rivals Ajaccio beat Evian 2-0, while a magnificent injury-time strike from Geoffrey Dernis handed Brest a 2-1 win at home to promoted Troyes.
Marseille will go back to the top if they can continue their perfect start to the campaign by beating Rennes at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday, although new recruit Joey Barton will not feature for OM.
Later on Sunday, Paris Saint-Germain continue their search for a first win of the season when they face Lille in the game of the weekend at the northern club’s new Grand Stade.Published 02 Sep 2012, 10:13 IST