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Lacazette shines on return as Lyon edge Ajaccio in Ligue 1 opener

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Paris, Aug 5, 2022 (AFP) - Alexandre Lacazette scored on his return to Lyon as the hosts edged promoted Ajaccio 2-1 in a hard-fought Ligue 1 opener on Friday where both sides finished with 10 men.

Former French international Lacazette returned on a free transfer five years after he joined Arsenal for a then-club-record fee of £46.5 million.

The 31-year-old striker - who signed a three-year contract with the club where he made his name after coming through the youth system - scored from the penalty spot after 21 minutes.

Lacazette also played a role in the opener, sending through a cross from Johann Lepenant for Brazilian Tete to score after 11 minutes.

Former Shakhtar Donetsk striker Tete - who joined Lyon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine - then won the penalty from a Cedric Avinel foul.

That allowed Lacazette to make it 2-0 for his 101st goal with Lyon.

But Lyon struggled in defence, with goalkeeper Anthony Lopes sent off following a foul on Mounaim El Idrissy in the penalty area at the half-hour mark.

Thomas Mangani pulled one back for the visitors, firing in the resulting penalty past substitute goalkeeper Remy Riou.

"We had to win the first game at home," said Lyon coach Peter Bosz.

"We could see the importance of Alexandre Lacazette, the respect of the opponent for him, the support of the fans are a good thing, but he can do better.

"We were leading 2-0 after 20 minutes playing well. The sending-off after 30 minutes changed a lot of things. Luckily, they also got a red card which helped us."

Ajaccio's Romain Hamouma was sent off just before the break after picking up a second yellow card for a hand in the face of Lucas Paqueta.

Both sides had their chances in the second half, with Riou denying Riad Nouri after an hour and midfielder Corentin Tolisso - also back in Lyon after five years in Bayern Munich - drawing a blank as he came off the bench with a quarter of an hour to go.

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