Saint-Etienne opened their Ligue 1 campaign with a stunning 2-1 win away to Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday, while Stade Rennais won 5-1 in a rout at newly promoted Dijon FCO.
Saint-Etienne took the lead in the 18th minute from an own-goal by Michael Ciani. Saint-Etienne midfielder Bakary Sako skipped past the hosts’ Mathieu Chalme and sent in a low cross that was turned into his own net by the Bordeaux centerback.
Gabon forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made it 2-0 in the 31st minute with a cross-shot from the edge of the box that looped over goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso and bounced off the post into the net.
“It’s good to have three points, but it should not generate an excess of confidence,” Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier told a press conference. “It was a difficult match, but the solidarity within the team helped us win.”
Bordeaux got back into the game in the 56th minute after winning a penalty when Saint-Etienne defender Sylvain Marchal attempted to clear the ball, but instead kicked Anthony Modeste in the chest. Brazilian midfielder Jussie converted the spot-kick.
Bordeaux pushed for an equalizer, with Chalme’s shot in the 65th minutes only being denied by goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier’s legs, but the hosts left more space at the back and Saint-Etienne came close to restoring their two-goal cushion through Laurent Batlles and Marchal.
“It’s a pity for the team because I think we had a good game, but sometimes there are matches in which you are not lucky. That’s the way it is,” Carrasso told Canal Plus television. “We saw some interesting things. There was a good mindset. We will try to keep it.”
Bordeaux are still struggling to recover from last season’s split between supporters and the team, culminating in the resignation of coach Jean Tigana after his 16-year-old daughter had been insulted in the stands.
Francis Gillot was hired as coach after having led Sochaux-Montbeliard to a fifth-place finish last season, but he inherited a squad low on confidence.
In the summer, the club lost midfielders Geraldo Wendel, Alou Diarra and Fernando Menegazzo, who led Bordeaux to the Ligue 1 title in 2009.
“Saint-Etienne had a lot of luck, especially on the second goal,” Gillot said. “The second goal hurt us. The first one was already not quite orthodox, but the second goal killed us a bit. We failed in our opener, but it’s only the start of the season. There’s a lot of work to do in every area.”
In Dijon, Victor Hugo Montano put Rennes ahead in the 34th minute and two minutes later, the Colombian striker slipped a through ball to Julien Feret, who doubled the lead.
Dijon forward Brice Jovial pulled one goal back on the stroke of halftime.
Rennes winger Razak Boukari made it 3-1 in the 50th minute by outpacing the Dijon defense and beating goalkeeper Jean-Daniel Padovani.
Senegal defender Kader Mangane added a fourth goal for Rennes with a header in the 75th minute, before substitute Alexander Tettey sealed the win in the 85th minute.
“We scored five goals, but things were not simple, especially at the start of the match,” Boukari said. “We managed to fight back, even after the missed penalty. It could have been a tricky match, but we stayed united.”
Dijon had two goals disallowed in the first 20 minutes, both for offside.
Rennes midfielder Feret, signed from Nancy in pre-season, missed a penalty in the 31st minute, firing over the bar after Steven Paulle had tripped Montano.