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Lyon begin season with comfortable win

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Latest update : 2008-08-12

Defending champions Lyon enjoyed an easy 3-0 victory over Toulouse for the opening match of the French Ligue 1, striker Karim Benzema scoring twice. Elsewhere, Marseille drew 4-4 at Rennes, while Paris SG lost their opening fixture to Monaco.

Seven-times reigning French league champions Lyon beat Toulouse 3-0 in their opening match of the 2008/09 campaign on Sunday to shoot to their usual spot at the top of the table.

Claude Puel took over from Alain Perrin last season and the culture of winning was maintained thanks to goals from Jean II Makoun and a double strike from Karim Benzema.

Puel, speaking on Canal Plus television, said afterwards: "It's great to win by such a large margin when we are not yet 100 percent physically."

Meanwhile on Saturday, Marseille drew 4-4 in a dramatic fixture at Rennes and Paris Saint Germain fell 1-0 at Monaco as two of the nation's highest profile clubs had less-than-optimal starts to the season.

Bordeaux, who finished as runners-up last season, started on a winning note, beating Caen 2-1 on Saturday thanks to goals from Yoann Gourcuff and Fernando Cavenaghi.

The 22-year-old Gourcuff, who arrived on loan from from AC Milan during the summer break, scored once and showed his quality as an on-field coordinator during Saturday's match at the Chaban-Delmas stadium in Bordeaux on the first day of the season.

Lyon won the league and cup double last season but controversially to some of the club's fans sold keeper Gregory Coupet and international Hatem Ben Arfa in the summer.

Puel was brought in from Lille and both French reserve keeper Hugo Lloris and striker Frederic Piquionne bolstered their squad.

Lyon refound their touch against a non-descript Toulouse. Makoun headed home the first goal in the 12th minute thanks to a Juninho Pernambucano freekick before Benzema found the net twice after the break to become the league's top scorer.

The result apart, Lyon, playing with a five-man midfield and just Benzema up front, were disappointing in moves going forward although they were in control throughout.

Toulouse keeper Cedric Carrasso said afterwards: "You can see they (Lyon) are a great team and it's clear we have work to do. We let the first goal in from a freekick we should not have given away but the team is young and is likely to improve."

Marseille let slip a 3-1 lead at Rennes to draw 4-4 in a topsy turvy match.

Eric Gerets' high-profile club looked set fair for victory with their two-goal lead at the interval, and briefly went ahead 4-3 in injury time, but Rennes' Bruno Cheyrou found the net in the fourth minute of time added on to level the match.

Paris Saint Germain, who won the League Cup last season yet spent the season fighting relegation, lost at Monaco to a Frederic Nimano goal 11 minutes from time.

Date created : 2008-08-10

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