Last weekend, Lens won at home, while the newly promoted hosts’ first match in France’s top division in eight years ended in defeat.
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Ajaccio vs Lens Tips and Prediction
Ajaccio, which finished second in Ligue 2 the previous season, ultimately made it back to Ligue 1 after a few close calls via the promotion play-offs.
Since taking over L’ours in 2014, Olivier Pantaloni, one of Europe’s longest-tenured managers, has presided over each of the team’s eight second-tier campaigns. The club’s devotion to him was finally rewarded with an outstanding promotion campaign.
Even the most upbeat Ajaccio supporters would not have had high hopes for their trip to Lyon last Friday, especially when Tete and Alexandre Lacazette gave the hosts a two-goal advantage after only 22 minutes.
The visitors had some optimism after Anthony Lopes, the goalie, was sent off five minutes later, and when Thomas Mangini scored on his penalty in the 31st minute, the most unlikely of comebacks appeared to be in store.
Romain Hamouma leveled the playing field and prevented Ajaccio from pulling off an opening-day upset when he received a second yellow card in first-half injury time.
Still, Pantaloni’s team has a potential to get a good outcome if they maintain their composure on Sunday. Though it won’t be simple for the hosts, they face a Lens team that has repeatedly outperformed expectations since getting promoted in 2020, with back-to-back seventh-place finishes.
Franck Haise, however, faces a formidable challenge in trying to duplicate that magic after losing crucial players Jonathan Clauss and Cheick Doucoure to Marseille and Crystal Palace, respectively, this summer. The club did, however, spend more than half of the proceeds from those two sales on six new additions.
Last Saturday, though, it was a veteran player who stole the show, as Florian Sotoca’s hat-trick gave his team a 3-0 lead over Brest after 65 minutes.
Haris Belekebla and Romain Del Castillo’s goals, perhaps as a result of Lens’s complacency, set up a tense end, but Lens held on to show that they can still be a factor this season even without the assistance of the aforementioned pair.
Haise will be pleased with his team’s performance and performance on the first day, but he will expect them to play much better defense on Sunday, especially if they find themselves taking a comfortable lead once more.
Despite losing several important players this summer, Lens ought to still be superior to their recently promoted rivals.
However, the home team will put up a strong effort to avoid losing and will have Haise’s team work hard for a second straight triumph.