Montpellier began the defence of its French league title with a 1-1 draw at home to Toulouse on Friday in a physical match which saw three players sent off.

Senegal striker Souleymane Camara put Montpellier ahead in the 34th minute when he latched onto a superb pass from John Utaka and sprinted clear before slotting the ball home.

"I'm happy to have scored, but I hope we do better in the next game," Camara said. "It's a fair result overall, but it's a shame we conceded that goal. We knew that Toulouse is a dangerous team, so we have to be happy with a point."

Montpellier had midfielder Jamel Saihi sent off shortly afterwards for a reckless high challenge, but Toulouse only took advantage of the extra man when Wissam Ben Yedder headed in the equalizer in the 72nd.

"We struggled tonight, but we knew it would be tough. I hope it won't be like this every game," Montpellier coach Rene Girard said. "The lads gave their all, so I can't complain about that. We were lacking a bit of sharpness because it's the start of the season."

Moments after equalizing, Toulouse had midfielder Adrien Regattin sent off for a late tackle on defender Daniel Congre and right back Serge Aurier followed for another wild lunge on right back Henri Bedimo in the 83rd.

"We really pushed hard in the second half, even though at the end we were hanging on because of the two red cards," Ben Yedder said after having scored his first goal in the top flight.

Montpellier caused a big upset last season when it beat big-spending Paris Saint-Germain to the title on the final day.

PSG, which has spent another C150 million ($184.2 million) on new players during the off-season, faces Lorient at home on Saturday as it bids to win its first title since 1994.

In Saturday's other games, it's: Evian vs. Bordeaux; Nancy vs. Brest; Nice vs. Ajaccio; Rennes vs. Lyon; Saint-Etienne vs. Lille; Sochaux vs. Bastia and Troyes vs. Valenciennes.

Reims hosts Marseille on Sunday.