Monaco salvage draw against Reims in Kovac's first game in charge

PARIS (Reuters) - Monaco rallied from two goals down to salvage a point in a 2-2 draw at home to Stade de Reims in their first game under new coach Nico Kovac in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Hoping to find some stability after hiring five coaches in two years, Monaco found themselves trailing 2-0 after 21 minutes following goals by Boulaye Dia and El Bilal Toure.

But Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile, who both had a catastrophic start in central defence, scored either side of the interval as Monaco stepped up a gear.

Nimes are the early pacesetters after the first round of matches courtesy of a 4-0 demolition of Brest while promoted Lorient also had a good start by beating Racing Strasbourg 3-1.

There was no Ligue 1 matches for five months as the 2019-2020 season was abandoned because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Reims got off to a flying start at Monaco when Boulaye Dia outpaced Badiashile and beat goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte with a low cross-shot in the fifth minute to put the visitors ahead.

They doubled their tally 16 minutes later when El Bilal Toure made the most of a defensive misunderstanding between Disasi and Badiashile.

Monaco, however, pulled one back on the stroke of halftime as Disasi headed home from point-blank range.

The hosts then equalised 10 minutes into the second half when Badiashile netted with an angled shot from Aleksandr Golovin’s free kick.

The season-openers for champions Paris St Germain and Olympique Lyonnais were postponed after both teams reached the Champions League semi-finals.

PSG will face Bayern Munich in the Champions League final later on Sunday.

Olympique de Marseille’s home game against St Etienne, which was scheduled for Friday, was postponed after four OM players tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris