Controversial penalty hands Lille victory
A highly contentious penalty award allowed Lille to claim their first win of the Ligue 1 season on Friday, Divock Origi`s spot-kick sealing a 1-0 victory against newly-promoted Caen.
Rene Girard`s side finished third last season to qualify for the Champions League, their success based first and foremost on a watertight defence.
And they have yet to concede a goal in the new Ligue 1 campaign, following up a 0-0 draw at home to Metz on the opening day by edging out another of the division`s new boys to set themselves up for next Wednesday`s Champions League play-off first leg at home to Portuguese giants FC Porto.
The game, played 160 kilometres away from Caen in Le Mans because the Normandy side`s own stadium is being used for the World Equestrian Games, appeared to be heading for a stalemate until referee Sebastien Desiage`s decision to award a penalty in the 69th minute.
Origi saw his charge towards goal ended by a superbly-timed challenge from Dennis Appiah just inside the box, but Caen were stunned to see the referee point to the spot and show a straight red card to the unfortunate defender.
There was no appeal from young Belgian forward Origi, who was signed by Liverpool last month and then loaned back to Lille for the season after impressing at the World Cup.
However, he got up to score from 12 yards, and Lille held on as Rio Mavuba cleared a last-minute Fode Koita header off the line.
That made it a frustrating evening for Caen, who marked their return to Ligue 1 after a two-year absence by beating Evian 3-0 last weekend but lost influential striker Mathieu Duhamel to an ankle injury early in the second half on Friday.
"It was not a good match. We didn`t deserve to lose but we didn`t deserve to win either," Girard told beIN Sports.
"We didn`t take much pleasure from this game but I`m not worried. We had a difficult start to last season as well. There is work to be done but now we have a very important match on Wednesday."
On Saturday, David Luiz could make his debut for Paris Saint-Germain when the champions entertain SC Bastia, who are now coached by ex-PSG captain and assistant boss Claude Makelele.
Last season`s runners-up Monaco will look to bounce back from an opening-day loss against Lorient when they go to Bordeaux on Sunday evening.