The 2020-21 Ligue 1 season kicked off on Friday as 14 clubs began their respective seasons over the course of the weekend.
There were a few surprise results from the opening weekend as the newly promoted sides were in action. Niko Kovac‘s Monaco went two-nil down before rescuing a point. Additionally, there were plenty of debuts from players and managers alike.
Ligue 1: Three Observations from Matchday One
Niko Kovac’s Monaco Escape with a Point
The Kovac era at Monaco began on Sunday as Monaco faced Reims in one of the most highly anticipated fixtures of the weekend. It appeared Reims were going to spoil the Croatian manager’s debut at the helm. Monaco went down 2-0 just 21 minutes into the match.
Despite the early deficit, Monaco rallied back to earn a point as they scored two goals from set-pieces. Russian midfielder Aleksandr Golovin set up both goals with Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile producing the final finish.
It was a close call for Kovac’s first match in charge but Monaco were able to take away a result from their first match against tough opposition. A loss would have a been tough beginning for Kovac. But, his team were able to turn around their early misfortune. Metz and Nantes await in the next two matches. Thus, his first victory doesn’t appear far away if Monaco can replicate the quality they showed in the second half of this match.
Lorient Score Three in First Ligue 1 Fixture
Newly promoted side Lorient poured on the goals against Strasbourg in their 3-1 victory. After leading Ligue 2 last season in goals scored, the Brittany club showed they can translate their goal-scoring ability to the top flight.
For Lorient, they will certainly be encouraged by their performance. They comfortably defeated a side that finished mid-table last season. If Lorient can continue to find the back of the net as they did against Strasbourg, they should have no trouble staying up in Ligue 1.
Fellow newly-promoted side Lens did not fare as well as Lorient. Nice defeated Lens 2-1 to deny the club from the north of France a point. Of the two promoted clubs, Lens appears to be the club that will have the most difficulty staying out of the relegation battle.
Red Cards Galore
There were four red cards produced during the opening weekend. In particular, the match between Lille and Rennes saw both clubs get a player sent off in the first half. It added an unexpected twist to the match as it finished tied 1-1.
Elsewhere, Bordeaux had a player sent off in the opening 20 minutes of their match against Nantes which completely changed the outlook of their opening match. Despite the man advantage for a large portion of the match, Nantes failed to capitalize as it finished in a scoreless draw.
Lastly, Brest went a man down late in the second half. However, this red card for Brest rubbed salt into the wounds of an already one-sided scoreline. Nimes routed Brest 4-0 to take an emphatic three points from their first fixture of the season.