Marseille kicked off their Ligue 1 campaign on Sunday by beating Reims 4-1 in Igor Tudor’s first game as coach, while Aaron Ramsey struck on his debut in Nice to save a point in Toulouse.

After a troubled summer in which Jorge Sampaoli walked away due to his dissatisfaction with the club’s transfer approach, it was a welcome victory for Tudor after a turbulent pre-season.

“I’m clearly very happy, it’s a clear and deserved victory,” said Tudor.

The former Croatia international was booed by home fans before kick-off, but an own goal by Wout Faes and debut goals for Nuno Tavares and Luis Suarez provided good cheer at the Velodrome.

Folarin Balogun, like Tavares an Arsenal hirer, answered late for Reims before Suarez took his second of the evening.

“The whistles to me? I was in, I didn’t hear them,” Tudor said. “The supporters are always right. We play for them and they do what they want. Without them football doesn’t exist.”

Tudor benched captain Dimitri Payet and made his debut for five players, including Tavares and Jonathan Clauss, who earned a call-up for France at Lens last season.

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Clauss was soon involved when Reims defender Faes shot a cross from the right back into his own goal in the 13th minute under pressure from Arkadiusz Milik.

Marseille were unlucky not to extend the lead with Cengiz Under and Valentin Rongier hitting the woodwork, but Tavares made it 2-0 with a fine low strike just before half-time.

Colombian striker Suarez, who was signed from Granada in July, took just 13 minutes to open his Ligue 1 account and was sent home after the ball bounced around Reims’ penalty area.

England under-21 international Balogun headed in to clear the deficit, but Suarez made sure it was Marseille’s night by tapping Cedric Bakambu’s pass deep into stoppage time.

– Ramsey drives to the rescue –

Aaron Ramsey scored a minute in his Nice debut after coming on as a second half substitute to save a 1-1 draw from newly promoted Toulouse.

The Wales international curled the equalizer in 78 minutes to negate a first-half goal from Thijs Dallinga, last season’s top scorer in the Dutch second division.

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Ramsey, 31, left Juventus when his contract was terminated at the end of July, and quickly reappeared just over the border at Nice after signing a one-year deal.

Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was appointed to the bench by Nice coach Lucien Favre following his arrival this week from Leicester City, the club with which he won the Premier League title in 2016.

Jonathan David scored twice as Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca started his reign in Lille with a 4-1 home win over Auxerre, who are back at the top level for the first time in a decade.

Benjamin Andre put Lille ahead within the first minute before Canadian star David doubled the lead with just three minutes played.

David added a third before halftime and Akim Zedadka made it 4-0 just after the hour. Gaetan Charbonnier grabbed a consolation for Auxerre.

Belgian defender Arthur Theate had a debut to forget for Rennes, firing an own goal past fellow newcomer Steve Mandanda in a 1-0 home defeat to Lorient.

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Theate, who was brought in from Bologna in July, sent a cross past Mandanda, the 37-year-old World Cup winner who left Marseille last month after a record 613 appearances for the club.

Wales centre-back Joe Rodon also made his debut in Rennes alongside Theate after signing a season on loan with Tottenham Hotspur.

Florian Sotoca took a hat-trick despite missing a penalty to give Lens a 3-2 win against Brest, while Montpellier defeated Troyes by the same score.

Last season’s French cup winner Nantes, who was beaten by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions Trophy in Israel a week ago, drew 0-0 in Angers.

PSG kicked off their bid for a record 11th French league title with a 5-0 smashing of Clermont on Saturday when Lionel Messi scored twice, including a stunning overhead kick.

AFP

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