Montpellier maintain Euro push
Last Updated: 06/04/13 9:38pm
Montpellier celebrate Daniel Congre's goal
Montpellier revived their European bid with a 3-1 victory over free-falling Valenciennes at the Stade de la Mosson.
Second-half goals from Daniel Congre and Younes Belhanda ensured the Ligue 1 champions ended a three-game winless run.
It also closed the gap on the European places, with fourth-placed Nice three points ahead, although St Etienne and Lille could extend that gap on Sunday.
Valenciennes, who have now won just once in 13 games, had gone into half-time level when Opa Nguette cancelled out Souleymane Camara's 18th-minute opener.
But a first win in Montpellier for 20 years was beyond VA as they now start to look over their shoulders with a six-point gap on the relegation places.
Following a quiet opening to the game Montpellier led when Valenciennes goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau failed to claim a Remy Cabella cross and Camara superbly headed in.
A low tempo continued after the breakthrough but shortly before the interval Valenciennes dragged themselves back level. Maor Melikson was the provider and, after beating three defenders, he teed up Nguette to fire into the top corner for the leveller.
Montpellier had the chance to double their lead just after the break when Cabella picked out Marvin Martin but the former Sochaux midfielder's effort shaved Penneteau's post.
The hosts did retake the lead on the hour mark through Congre.
Belhanda and Cabella combined to try and find Gaetan Charbonnier but despite the striker coming up short Congre was there with a precise finish.
Montpellier's Martin was gifted with another great opportunity to secure the points for his team but Penneteau saved his effort when one-on-one.
A third goal did come for the hosts though with just a few minutes left to play.
On the counter-attack Belhanda picked out Camara who obliged the Moroccan with a return pass to secure all three points.
French Ligue 1
|3||Paris St Germain||19||38|
|18||Evian Thonon Gaillar||18||19|