sport

Diacre loses Clermont opener

Corinne Diacre, the first female coach in the top two divisions of European football, lost her first game as Clermont boss, 2-1 to Brest.

Her team gave her the perfect start - Souleymane Sawadogo finished off a counterattack in the ninth minute.

But the match changed in the second half when Bruno Grougi converted a penalty for Brest, and Alexandre Alphonse then scored the winner for the home side.

"It's never nice to lose, that's obvious," Diacre said. "But Brest played well. We made a couple of mistakes for their goals. But we did good things too, which is a good sign for the future. You can't ignore Clermont this season."

Diacre - who was making history on her 40th birthday - was vocal on the touchline throughout and Clermont almost equalised but were denied by the woodwork and a fantastic save on the line by Brest goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux.

"We didn't know how to keep the ball today, that was one of our weaknesses," Diacre said. "We didn't use the ball well, we didn't develop our game as we could have, as we should have.

\"That's what put us in danger. There are plenty of positive things. I have a young team and I'm happy with my players because they gave everything."

Diacre was appointed as Clermont coach at the end of June, replacing another woman Helena Costa who quit before coaching a game after claiming male colleagues sidelined her and used her as a "face" to attract publicity.

Costa had been the first female manager to be appointed in the highest two divisions of any professional European football league. Italian third-division side Viterbese hired Carolina Morace in 1999, but she resigned after two matches.

Diacre made 121 appearances for France and also captained the national side. She served as its assistant manager for three years before taking charge of Soyaux, the club where she spent her entire playing career.