Football: Big-spending PSG fall in season opener

PARIS, Aug 6, 2011 (AFP) - Paris Saint-Germain failed to show the fruits of their money-spinning takeover by Qatar Sports Investments this summer, falling 1-0 in their season opener at home to Lorient on Saturday.

Meanwhile, champions Lille and runners-up Marseille both had to settle for a point while Lyon won 3-1 at Nice.

PSG's new Argentine international playmaker Javier Pastore, the club's eighth signing of the summer, was presented to the jubilant fans just before the game after completing his high-profile move from Palermo on a five-year deal.

AFP - Lorient's Portuguese Pedro Miguel da Silva Rocha (L), aka Pedrinho, vies with Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian striker Anderson Luis de Carvalho (R), aka Nene

But the atmosphere at Parc des Princes soon proved damper than the weather in the French captial when Julien Quercia put the Brittany side ahead after 28 minutes.

Pastore, 22, had joined PSG in a French record 42 million euros ($60 million) deal, bringing the transfer total to another record 84 million euros following the signing of France internationals Kevin Gameiro, Jeremy Menez and Blaise Matuidi among eight new players.

But Antoine Kombouare's side could find no way past the Bretons who achieved their fifth win in their last eight visits to Parc des Princes.

"It takes time to build a team," said Kombouare. "But it's the result that counts. There a lot of new players in the squad, they need to find their rhythm and the right physical condition.

"It's a challenge, but there's no need to panic."

Lorient coach Christian Gourcuff rubbed salt in the wound for the Parisians.

"You can collect big names to try and make yourself favourites but there are other values such as team spirit which is what the game is about," he said.

"There was also the psychological aspect with all the media hype around PSG. That made them doubt and threw them off. It's the classic scenario which often happens to Paris.

"We played with humility and as a team we had a remarkable performance."

Newcomers Matuidi and Menez failed to impress with the later whistled off as he was substituted after 70 mintues, while new captain Mamadou Sakho, promoted in place of Claude Makelele, struggled to impose himself.

Only Gameiro, France's top scorer the past two seasons looked up to the task, setting up one of their best chances to score when he crossed to Nene only for the Brazilian's lob to go over the bar after 37 minutes.

Fourth last season, narrowly missing out on a Champions League place to Lyon, and French Cup runners-up to Lille, PSG had embarked on the campaign with serious designs on a first league title since 1994.

But the only consolation for PSG fans was that their two leading rivals - Lille and Marseille - had to settle for draws.

Northeners Lille came away with a 1-1 draw despite dominating play at Nancy with Mathieu Debuchy giving the visitors the lead three minutes after the break only for defender Franck Beria to concede an own goal after 61 minutes.

Marseille, who conceded 20 points at home last season to finish runners-up, took the lead after 38 minutes with a superb Lucho volley.

But Sochaux dominated the second half with Marvin Martin getting the equaliser after 59 minutes and Vincent Nogueira putting the visitors ahead after 71 minutes before a Loic Remy header gave Marseille a share of the points.

Of the "big four" only Lyon shone on the opening day coming away comfortable 3-1 winners from Nice to put them top of the table after the first day.

Former Lyon player Anthony Mounier had put the Riviera outfit ahead after just five minutes but Lisandro Lopez got the equaliser six minutes later with Bafe Gomis making it 2-1 after 32 minutes. Maxime Gonalons sealed victory after 74 minutes.

Elsewhere, Montpellier won 3-1 at home against Auxerre while Caen beat Valenciennes 1-0. Ligue 2 winners Evian held Brest 2-2 while as fellow newcomers Ajaccio fell 2-0 at home against Toulouse.

Other news