AS Monaco’s expensively assembled side left it late, but earned a 2-0 win at Girondins de Bordeaux in the French league on Saturday, as star signing Radamel Falcao scored on his debut.
Claudio Ranieri’s side appeared to be heading to a draw in its first match back in the top flight, but substitute Emmanuel Riviere took advantage of a mistake by Bordeaux defender Marc Planus to score eight minutes from time and Falcao sealed the result five minutes later.
Monaco are level on points with defending champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) — who drew 1-1 at Montpellier on Friday — after starting the season with a two-point deduction.
The French federation is deliberating Monaco’s appeal against the penalty, which saw the club deducted points.
Despite being one of the three promoted sides, Monaco is widely expected to be the closest challenger to PSG this season. However, its return to the top flight almost started poorly as Bordeaux went close to taking an early lead, but new signing Ricardo Carvalho did enough to put off Henri Saivet, who fired over from close range.
Monaco could have gone in front in the 22nd minute, but Ocampos’ powerful effort struck the outside of the right post.
The visitors had another good chance six minutes later as James Rodriguez did well to force his way into the area and carve out space for a shot, but Bordeaux ’keeper Cedric Carrasso pushed the ball over the crossbar.
Bordeaux improved in the second half and had several chances to take the lead.
They were left to rue those missed opportunities as Monaco took the lead in the 82nd minute. Riviere — who had only come on 10 minutes earlier — made the most of a mistake by Planus to bring down an aerial ball and prod it into the bottom right corner.
Another defensive mistake shortly afterward allowed Falcao to beat Bordeaux’s Ludovic Sane to Lucas Ocampos’ cross and seal the match.
Fellow promoted side Nantes also won 2-0, against SC Bastia.
Olympique Lyonnais, who finished third in the league last season, cruised to a 4-0 victory over OGC Nice.
Toulouse saw their campaign get off to a dreadful start as they lost 3-0 at Valenciennes.
LOSC Lille Metropole beat 10-man Lorient thanks to a 13th-minute strike from Divock Origi.
Stade Rennais won 2-1 at home to Stade de Reims, while Evian Thonion Gaillard and Sochaux-Montbeliard drew 1-1.