Lyon start with win
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Lyon kicked off their bid for a fifth straight title with a 2-1 victory at Le Mans.Reigning champions Lyon kicked off their bid for a fifth consecutive title with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at promoted Le Mans.
John Carew, who scored a hat-trick in the Champions Trophy against Auxerre in midweek, grabbed the winner on 58 minutes after Vinicius De Melo had cancelled out Sylvain Wiltord's opener for Lyon.
The title holders started the match against Le Mans without unsettled midfielder Michael Essien, who had originally been named in the squad.
But the Chelsea target was forced to miss the game due to a stomach upset, although his absence will only serve to fuel rumours of his impending departure from Stade Gerland.
Lyon took the lead on 36 minutes after Wiltord controlled a cross from Anthony Reveillere and finished clinically.
Early in the second half, Wiltord was denied by Le Mans goalkeeper Yoann Pele before Lyon shot-stopper Gregory Coupet made a smart save from Daisuke Matsui.
Le Mans equalised on 56 minutes when Matsui and Koffi Romaric combined to present De Melo with the chance to score.
The champions grabbed the points just two minutes later when Sidney Govou crossed for summer signing Carew to head beyond Pele.
Click on the link below for an individual match summary:
Le Mans 1-2 Lyon