PARIS: After being deprived of a place in Portugal’s Euro 2016 squad due to injury, Bernardo Silva is the man of the moment for Monaco at the start of the new season.
The principality club travel to face Nantes at the Stade de la Beaujoire on Saturday on the second weekend of the new Ligue 1 campaign and do so buoyed by the impact of the 22-year-old Silva over the last week.
Silva came off the bench late in the first half for injured teammate Kylian Mbappe with his team trailing 2-0 at home to Guingamp in their season opener last Friday.
He went on to win a penalty converted by Fabinho that brought them back into the game before netting the late face-saving equalizer at the Stade Louis 2nd.
Silva was at it again on Wednesday, scoring the winner as Leonardo Jardim’s side beat Villarreal 2-1 in Spain in the first leg of their Champions League play-off.
“We are happy with the result and to have the advantage ahead of the return leg,” said Silva, whose side host the Spaniards next Tuesday.
“We will need to be wary because Villarreal are a good side and so we’ll need to be at our very best in front of our own fans if we are to qualify for the Champions League.”
Silva missed his country’s remarkable European Championship triumph due to a thigh injury but such a personal blow was good news for Monaco, who have the former Benfica starlet back fresh for the new campaign.
That is in contrast to Joao Moutinho, who is not yet fully fit having featured in Portugal’s final win against France last month.
Radamel Falcao is injured as Monaco chase their first league win against a Nantes side who are hoping to have Iceland’s Euro 2016 star Kolbeinn Sigthorsson available.
Champions Paris Saint-Germain play their first game at the Parc des Princes under new coach Unai Emery when promoted Metz visit on Sunday.
PSG began their quest for a fifth consecutive title by beating Bastia 1-0 in Corsica last weekend with Layvin Kurzawa scoring the winner.
Uruguay star Edinson Cavani missed that game with a thigh problem but is in line to return here, while fellow striker Jese Rodriguez, the new recruit from Real Madrid, is out after undergoing an appendicitis operation.
Lacazette going nowhere
Lyon entertain Caen at the Parc OL on Friday aiming to build on a 3-0 win at Nancy in their opening game in which Alexandre Lacazette scored a hat-trick.
Lacazette is a target for clubs in the English Premier League but Lyon coach Bruno Genesio says his star striker is going nowhere.
“We have done everything to keep him. I have heard that if the president wishes to keep him he will stay,” said Genesio.
“He is a great player and he needs to see that he is liked. He is and will remain at Lyon.”
Lyon will hand a debut to Polish international left-back Maciej Rybus, a summer signing from Terek Grozny of Russia.
Bordeaux, who beat Saint-Etienne 3-2 in their opening fixture, go to Toulouse in the Garonne derby while troubled Marseille are at Guingamp.
After a chaotic summer off the pitch with owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus trying to sell the club, Marseille began their campaign by drawing 0-0 with Toulouse.
Captain Lassana Diarra played in that game but could depart before the transfer window closes, with Turkish giants Galatasaray the latest side linked with the France midfielder.