Saturday, October 21, 2017

Lille 3 Nantes 0: Bielsa back with a bang to rout Ranieri

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 6 Aug 2017

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Marcelo Bielsa began his reign as Lille boss in style with an opening 3-0 win over Claudio Ranieri’s Nantes in Ligue 1.

Feted coach Bielsa spent a year out of the game following his swiftly aborted tenure as Lazio boss and it was announced in February he would return to France’s top flight, having proved a hit at Marseille in 2014-15.

Ranieri is back in the dugout after his Leicester City fairy tale ended on a sour note six months ago and, after a goalless first half, the genial Italian endured a hefty dose of reality at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Junior Alonso opened the scoring in the 48th minute, crashing home emphatically from the edge of the area after the Nantes defence failed to clear.

Nicolas de Preville scored a hat-trick in the corresponding fixture on the final day of last season and helped himself to another courtesy of a 67th-minute penalty after Nicolas Pallois fouled Kevin Malcuit.

Three minutes later, Anwar El Ghazi converted Rominigue Kouame’s cross and unveiled a t-shirt paying tribute to his Abdelhak Nouri, his former Ajax team-mate who suffered severe brain damage after collapsing during a friendly against Werder Bremen last month.

Speaking after the match, Bielsa told reporters: “We played with a lot of dynamism and pace, making very few mistakes. Our level of play was very high.”

Newly promoted Strasbourg are up next for Lille, while Ranieri’s men will aim to bounce back at home to Marseille next weekend.

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