Returning Thauvin inspires Marseille to win in Ligue 1 opener

Florian Thauvin came back in style from a 15-month layoff with one goal and two assists as Marseille launched their new Ligue 1 season with a 3-2 win.

On Sunday, the French international struck the opener for Andre Villas-Boas’ side 20 minutes into the game, before turning provider for center-back Duje Caleta-Car’s double in the 27th and 80th minute, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I’m really happy to have scored. It was a very long time out, the first long injury of my career,” Thauvin told Telefoot after the match.

“I admit I went through a difficult period but I worked a lot and I’m proud because I didn’t give up.”

“I think I’m at 70 or 80 per cent,” he added. “But if you had told me after so long without playing I was going to be at this level, I would have signed right away.”

Romain Faivre scored for the hosts in first half stoppage time, and Gaetan Charbonnier’s goal in the 89th minute caused Marseille a few nervy moments, but it was not enough to take the win away from last season’s runners-up.

Earlier in the day, former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac secured his first Ligue 1 victory as Monaco boss, as his new team beat Metz 1-0, thanks to teenage defender Benoit Badiashile’s goal in the 22nd minute.

Monaco were reduced to 10 men only one minute into the second half after midfielder Youssouf Fofana was sent off for receiving a second yellow card.

Last season’s French Cup finalists Saint-Etienne also started their new campaign with a 2-0 victory over newly-promoted Lorient at home. Romain Homouma netted twice for the Greens, whose matchday 1 game against Marseille last week was postponed to September after several COVID-19 cases were reported before the clash.

Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain will not play this weekend, as their match against newly-promoted Lens has been postponed to September 10.