On-loan Liverpool striker Divock Origi netted the winner as Lille moved to the top of the Ligue 1 standings ahead of the weekend matches with a somewhat fortunate 1-0 win at promoted Caen.
The game hinged on an incident midway through the second half when Caen defender Dennis Appiah was sent off for bringing Origi down inside the area, and from the resulting penalty the Belgium striker slotted home for the only goal of the game.
That was the first goal of the new season for the 19-year-old, who was sold by Lille to Liverpool this summer before being immediately loaned back to the French club, and earned his side their opening victory.
It also lifted Lille to the top of the standings on four points, although several clubs will expect to move back above them this weekend.
Caen can feel hard done by not to have taken anything from the match, however, having created most of the chances.
They twice went close in the opening 20 minutes, Ngolo Kante firing just inches wide of the post before Florian Raspentino saw his fight-footed effort hit the side-netting.
Lille, who finished third last season, fashioned their only opening of the first half in the 32nd minute but Marvin Martin saw his 20-yard effort fizz just over after latching onto a lay-off from Florent Balmont.
Caen were back on the attack at the start of the second half with Jordan Adeoti bringing a save out of Vincent Enyeama with a long-range shot and substitute Bengali-Fode Koita only just failing to convert a superb headed effort, with Enyeama beaten.
The home side could not find the breakthrough, though, and they were made to pay the penalty in the 68th minute as Lille notched from 12 yards to decide the match.
Appiah's clumsy-looking challenge on Origi earned him both an early bath and Lille a penalty, and Origi made no mistake with the subsequent spot-kick.
The 10 men of Caen tried to push for a late leveller but were twice denied by good stops from Enyeama, who flew across goal to keep out Raspentino's 25-yard drive in the 83rd minute before doing similar to save from Adeoti two minutes later.