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Serie A heavyweights head-to-head

50-50 Challenge 2 days ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 6, 2007

New Lyon coach pleased with convincing start

LYON, France, Aug 6 (Reuters) - New Olympique Lyon coach Alain Perrin liked what he saw in his first match in charge of the French champions, who kicked off their campaign for a seventh successive Ligue 1 title with a 2-0 home win over Auxerre.

'We got the result we wanted and we got it in style,' Perrin, who took over from Gerard Houllier, told reporters about Sunday's victory.

'We created a lot of chances and did not let our opponents get many,' he added.

Some Lyon fans feared their team would be weaker after losing several important players, notably winger Florent Malouda to Chelsea, defender Eric Abidal to Barcelona and midfielder Tiago to Juventus.

They were soon reassured, however, with a goal in each half by Czech forward Milan Baros and France striker Karim Benzema as well as a promising debut from midfielder Kader Keita, who joined from Lille.

'Everybody could see that we're still a force to be reckoned with', said Remy Vercoutre, deputising in the Lyon goal for France keeper Gregory Coupet, who underwent knee surgery on Monday and will be sidelined for four months.

Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez, whose team were outplayed, said Lyon looked even stronger than last season.

'We have to wait and see if they can keep it up but I thought they looked technically better, played faster and created more chances,' he said.

'I have to say I was impressed.'