Paris (AFP) – French champions Lille were left stunned by the man who led them to last season’s Ligue 1 title, going down 4-0 at home to Christophe Galtier’s new club Nice on Saturday as Denmark’s Kasper Dolberg scored twice.
Galtier oversaw Lille’s remarkable title triumph in May as the side from northern France pipped Paris Saint-Germain to take the French crown for the fourth time in their history.
However he then ended his three-and-a-half-year association with Lille and headed south to take charge of an ambitious Nice outfit owned by Ineos, the group chaired by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.
Nice displayed their potential here as Dolberg bagged a brace, his goals coming either side of a Hicham Boudaoui strike and a penalty converted by France Under-21 forward Amine Gouiri.
It is Lille’s heaviest home league defeat since September 2017 and a sobering result for Jocelyn Gourvennec, the man who succeeded Galtier as coach at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Nice had drawn 0-0 with Reims in their season opener last weekend but Dolberg needed just 55 seconds here to open the scoring, turning the ball in after Lille goalkeeper Leo Jardim had tipped Jean-Clair Todibo’s shot onto the post.
The former Ajax striker was making his first start of the campaign following his late return for pre-season training after helping Denmark reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020.
Nice were 2-0 up inside five minutes as Algerian midfielder Boudaoui fired home from outside the box, and they were gifted the chance to score a third in first-half stoppage time.
Dolberg saw his header strike the bar and then his attempts to convert the follow-up were stopped by a Benjamin Andre handball.
The offence was spotted by the referee after a VAR consultation, a penalty was awarded and Gouiri stepped up to stroke home from the spot.
Things got worse for Lille after the break as Dante headed on a corner for Dolberg to nod in the fourth in the 64th minute.
At least further embarrassment was prevented for Lille as another Gouiri goal was disallowed for a marginal offside in the build-up.
Later on Saturday PSG host Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes, which will welcome a full house of 48,000 fans for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March last year.
Lionel Messi will be paraded to PSG supporters before the game but neither he nor Neymar will play any part in the game with both lacking match fitness after late starts to pre-season.