New-look Bordeaux off to winning start in France

Paris (AFP) – New Bordeaux coach Jocelyn Gourvennec saw his side hold off a late Saint-Etienne fightback to win a thrilling encounter 3-2 on the opening weekend of the French Ligue 1 season.

Gaetan Laborde, Uruguayan international Diego Rolan and Brazilian youngster Malcom all netted for the hosts at the Matmut Atlantique but they were made to sweat as Romain Hamouma and Alexander Soderlund both scored late goals for the visitors.

Saturday’s game was the competitive bow for Gourvennec, appointed as Bordeaux’s new coach to end a successful six-year stint in charge of unfashionable Brittany side Guingamp.

There was no place for either of his marquee summer signings in the starting line-up, with former Monaco midfielder Jeremy Toulalan suspended and forward Jeremy Menez only on the bench.

However, young forward Laborde, who has spent most of the last two seasons on loan in the second tier, opened the scoring 13 minutes in when he got in front of Loic Perrin to head in a free-kick.

Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier kept the visitors in the game with a fine save from Malcom before Nicolas Pallois had a header cleared off the line as it remained 1-0 at the interval.

However, Laborde set up Rolan to make it 2-0 early in the second period and Malcom, the 19-year-old signed in January from Corinthians, curled in a free-kick for the third goal.

Saint-Etienne rallied, though, and Hamouma headed in nine minutes from time before Norwegian striker Soderlund, who had come off the bench, got to a corner in front of goalkeeper Jerome Prior to make it 3-2.

Bordeaux, who saw Menez come off the bench to make his debut wearing a headguard to protect the ear he had partially ripped off in a gruesome pre-season friendly incident, held on as Vincent Pajot grazed the post with a shot in stoppage time.

On Friday champions Paris Saint-Germain began their quest for a fifth consecutive title by winning 1-0 at Bastia, Layvin Kurzawa scoring the only goal in Corsica.

Monaco warmed up for their trip to Villarreal in the first leg of their Champions League play-off next midweek by coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Guingamp, Bernardo Silva grabbing the late equaliser.

Last season’s runners-up Lyon begin their campaign at promoted Nancy on Sunday, while Marseille are at home to Toulouse.

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