News ID: 124126
Published: 0647 GMT August 08, 2015

Lucas earns 10-man PSG winning start against Lille

Lucas earns 10-man PSG winning start against Lille

Ten-man Paris Saint-Germain got the defense of its Ligue 1 title off to a good start when Lucas’s second-half strike earned the team a 1-0 win at Lille on Friday.

The champion, which began the three previous seasons with a draw, had midfielder Adrien Rabiot sent off in the 28th minute for two bookings but Brazil midfielder Lucas secured all three points with a goal just before the hour, Reuters reported.

PSG was without injured striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic but it still looked a cut above its opponent in the season curtain-raiser at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in northern France.

Laurent Blanc’s PSG side was at times shaken by Lille but its defense held firm and it only needed one clear chance to take advantage despite going down to 10 men. Youngster Rabiot was booked twice in seven minutes as PSG, with its new recruit from Manchester United, Angel Di Maria, watching from the stands, dominated the early exchanges.

Edinson Cavani, operating as a lone striker, was again guilty of missing a clear chance in the 26th minute.

It was Lille who had the first shot on target when Benjamin Corchia’s long-range strike was blocked by Kevin Trapp, though that was as close as the hosts came to scoring.

PSG looked more comfortable in midfield after Blanc brought on the experienced Thiago Motta for Javier Pastore at halftime.

It clearly had the upper hand and in the 57th minute, Lucas controlled Blaise Matuidi’s defense-splitting pass and rounded Vincent Enyeama before scoring into an empty net.

Looking to avoid another sending off, Blanc replaced Marco Verratti, the Italian having been booked, and handed Benjamin Stambouli his debut after his transfer from Tottenham Hotspur.

Last year’s runner-up Olympique Lyonnais will start its campaign Sunday at home against Lorient.

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