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Football: Lorient shock Monaco in opening Ligue 1 upset

Twenty-year-old Valentin Lavigne scored with three minutes left to hand unfancied Lorient a shock 2-1 victory over Monaco in the final match of the opening weekend in Ligue 1 action on Sunday (Aug 10).

PARIS: Twenty-year-old Valentin Lavigne scored with three minutes left to hand unfancied Lorient a shock 2-1 victory over Monaco in the final match of the opening weekend in Ligue 1 action on Sunday (Aug 10).

Colombian striker Radamel Falcao had appeared to salvage a point for new coach Leonardo Jardim with a controversial penalty on 78 minutes, following Ricardo Carvalho's sending-off. But Lavigne broke clear of the defence to slot the ball past Croatian 'keeper Danijel Subasic.

"I understand that the fans are worried," admitted Jardim. "We want to win and give them football of quality. I would have preferred to lose in the pre-season than on the opening day of the league. But I can promise the fans that we are going to work hard to continue to move forward."

The visitors stunned the Louis II faithful, including Prince Albert, as they forced a penalty after just 10 minutes when Aymen Abdennour committed a foul inside the area. Cameroon international Vincent Aboubakar made no mistake from the spot as he planted a low shot past Subasic to put Lorient 1-0 in front.

Lorient goalkeeper Benjamin Lacomte, who spent last season on loan at second division Dijon, dealt with everything that came his way before the referee awarded Monaco a penalty with 12 minutes left. But despite Falcao's strike, it wasn't enough.

Earlier, seven-time French champions Lyon began their campaign in fine style as they defeated Brittany club Rennes 2-0 at the Stade Gerland. Caen are the early frontrunners on goal difference after their 3-0 win at Evian on Saturday.

Lyon, who won their titles consecutively from 2002 and 2008, opened the scoring in their first league match under new coach Hubert Fournier with a strike from 34-year-old midfielder Steed Malbranque after 64 minutes. French international Alexandre Lacazette, who scored 23 goals last season, made the points safe from the penalty spot with 16 minutes left.

Champions Paris Saint-Germain were held to a 2-2 draw at Reims in the Ligue 1 curtain raiser on Friday while Marseille were pegged back in a 3-3 draw at Bastia 24 hours later in a match marred by crowd trouble.

There were also opening day wins for Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux, Nice and Nantes while Champions League hopefuls Lille, who drew Porto in the final qualifying round, were held to a 0-0 stalemate at home by Metz.

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