Five-star Evian claim victory
Last Updated: 09/03/13 9:42pm
Saber Khelifa keeps possession.
Evian responded to coach Pascal Dupraz's pre-match pleas with an emphatic 5-1 win over fellow strugglers Sochaux to move out of the Ligue 1 relegation zone.
Dupraz had claimed that psychologically, the game was "worth a thousand points", with Evian lying three points behind their opponents who occupied the last position above the drop zone.
By the time Cedric Barbosa and Saber Khelifa had scored twice apiece, Kevin Berigaud adding another to render Cedric Bakambu's 53rd-minute equaliser irrelevant, Evian had jumped two places to 16th and it was their shell-shocked opponents who were left residing in the bottom three.
Though it took Evian until the closing moments of the first half to make the breakthrough, the tone was set early as visiting keeper Simon Pouplin was forced into three good saves in the first quarter of the game.
Pouplin kept out Khelifa's snap-shot and Berigaud's 20-yard drive but saved his best for last, reacting sharply to parry the latter's close-range left-footed volley.
Bakambu's close-range header forced Bertrand Laquait to mirror his opposite number Pouplin's heroics but Evian took the lead a minute before the interval, Barbosa hammering a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner with his left foot.
Pouplin saved from Berigaud early in the second half before Sochaux shocked the Parc des Sports d'Annecy with an equaliser against the run of play, Bakambu tapping in from close range after good work from Giovanni Sio.
Parity lasted only nine minutes, though, as Khelifa was fouled in the penalty area by David Sauget and sent Pouplin the wrong way from the spot.
That goal opened the floodgates, with three more in the next quarter-hour piling the agony on the visitors.
Berigaud converted Khelifa's long cross before Milos Ninkovic set up Barbosa to make it 4-1.
Khelifa completed the scoring in the 76th minute when he latched on to Olivier Sorlin's long pass and fired past a demoralised Pouplin.
French Ligue 1
|1||Paris St Germain||38||83|
|18||Evian Thonon Gaillar||38||37|