Howedes howler gives Lyon victory
© AFP

Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes had a night to forget as he scored an own goal and was also dismissed in a torrid first half as Lyon began their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 1-0 victory.

Howedes was unfortunate to be accredited with the game's only goal after 21 minutes when his last-gasp clearance, after some trickery from Michel Bastos, ended with him bundling the ball into his own net under pressure from the Brazilian.

Worse was to come for the 22-year-old in the 38th minute when he was shown a straight red card for a professional foul on Jimmy Briand.

From there Lyon, quarter-finalists last year, did enough to secure a deserved win to kick off their Group B campaign.

Both sides entered the game looking to put terrible starts to their respective domestic campaigns to one side.

Lyon boasted just one win in five in Ligue 1 while Schalke's start was even worse after they had lost their opening three Bundesliga fixtures to prop up the German league.

It was Lyon who got the rub of the green, however, as the unfortunate Howedes' forgettable opening set them on course for victory. The defender's woes began when he headed over when well placed from Ciprian Deac's corner.

Schalke could have even been ahead before then when Jefferson Farfan's volley was superbly kept out by Hugo Lloris.

But it was the home side who went ahead after 21 minutes when Bastos skilfully flicked a long ball over the on-rushing Manuel Neuer and towards goal.

With the ball trickling towards the line the retreating Howedes made good ground just to deny Bastos a simple tap-in. However, his momentum, and pressure from the Brazilian full-back, meant he could only help the ball into his own net.

Howedes' night got worse 17 minutes later though, as he was given his marching orders for a foul on Briand 35 yards from goal. His absence made life easier for Lyon after Schalke had shown signs they could end their horror run of form.

After the break they briefly threatened with summer signing Raul, making his 133rd UEFA Champions League appearance, firing over after he ambitiously took aim from 35 yards.

Lyon came close to scoring a second with Bastos forcing a save from Neuer before Jeremy Toulalan headed over from 12 yards. Neuer then made a tremendous save to deny Yoann Gourcuff at the far post, but Lyon had done enough.