(CNN) -- World 100 meter record holder Usain Bolt made a winning return to action after a nine-month injury lay-off, beating rival Asafa Powell in Rome.
The Jamaican, who also holds the 200m world record, looked rusty but recovered from a sluggish start to beat his fellow countryman to the line in 9.91 seconds.
Powell finished second on 9.93 secs with Christophe Lemaitre of France third in exactly 10 seconds at the Golden Gala event in Italy.
"It was not perfect but I'm very happy. It could have been better, but I'm now looking forward to my second race (of the season)," AFP quoted Bolt as saying.
"The important thing was that I got the win. It's good for confidence and the season."
Bolt, who set his world record time of 9.58secs in Berlin in 2009, has now beaten Powell in nine of their last ten races but it looked for the first half of the contest as if Bolt would suffer defeat on his comeback.
The 24-year-old was slow out of the blocks with Powell taking a commanding lead after the 50m mark. But Bolt burst back in style to overtake his rival in the final few strides.
It was triple Olympic champion Bolt's first performance since he lost to American sprinter Tyson Gay August last year, after which he was blighted by Achilles and back problems.
A disappointed Powell said after the race: "The difference is that Usain ran his race and I also ran his race. I didn't stay relaxed or focused."
Elsewhere, American Allyson Felix won her much anticipated clash with compatriot and returning world champion Sanya Richards in the 400m, the latter finishing fifth in her first race for over a year.
American Bianca Knight won the 200m in 22.74secs from Kerron Stewart of Jamaica with Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas in third.
British world and European champion Phillips Idowu took first place in the men's triple jump ahead of Christian Olsson of Sweden thanks to his leap of 17.59m.
Ethiopia's Imane Merga won the 5,000m while Italian long-jumper Andrew Howe delighted the crowd by winning his secondary event, the 200m.