Substitute Yacine Bammou scored within seconds of coming on to secure Nantes a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Lens in their Ligue 1 opener at Stade de la Beaujoire.
Lens, who returned to France's top tier following an appeal after a runners-up finish in Ligue 2 last season, did well the limit the number of chances Nantes had in the first half and deservedly went into the break on level terms.
Les Canaris boss Michel Der Zakarian rang the changes midway through the second half and Bammou scored what proved to be the winner in the 66th minute shortly after replacing Fernando Aristeguieta.
Nantes, who finished 13th in Ligue 1 last season, sought to quickly impose themselves on Lens and Serge Gakpe's 30-yard effort was only just off target in the opening exchanges, before visiting goalkeeper Remy Riou, on loan from Nantes, did well to repel Issa Cissokho's shot after he found some space in the area.
Riou then made further saves from Lucas Deaux and Aristeguieta, before Lens registered their first efforts on target as Yoann Touzghar and Benjamin Bourigeaud tried to work home stopper Maxime Dupe.
Aristeguieta almost opened the scoring two minutes after the interval but his half-volley from 20 yards out narrowly missed the target.
It proved to be a fruitless evening for the Venezuela striker, who made way for Bammou with 25 minutes left.
The 22-year-old Frenchman's impact was immediate as he scored the winner, slotting home from close range after fine work down the left-hand flank by Johan Audel.
Lens manager Antoine Kombouare responded by sending on Pierrick Valdivia, Baptiste Guillaume and Lalaina Nomenjanahary from the bench but chances for the away side were few and far between.
Nantes could have been 2-0 up eight minutes later when, having caught Lens on the counter attack, Gakpe opted to shoot rather than pass to Alejandro Bedoya who was in a prime position to score.
It ultimately did not matter, however, as Bammou's effort was enough to secure all three points for the home side, who travel to Metz next Saturday.
Lens, meanwhile, will attempt to get off the mark when they host Guingamp at the Stade Felix-Bollaert.