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French Ligue 1

Stade Nungesser (ATT 14,308) 23rd December 2012 - Kick off 13:00 Ref: Nicolas Rainville

Valenc'nes Valenciennes vs Evian Thonon Gaillar Evian

Valenc'nes 2

G Pujol (14)
J Saez (74)


Evian 1

S Khelifa (33)
D Kone (S/O 72)

Valenciennes edge out Evian

Last Updated: 23/12/12 3:58pm

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Gregory Pujol is mobbed after scoring

Gregory Pujol is mobbed after scoring

Valenciennes ended an encouraging first half to the Ligue 1 season on a high note with a hard-fought 2-1 win over 10-man Evian.

Goals from Gregory Pujol and Jose Saez saw the hosts to a victory that means they will spend the winter break inside the top seven.

Saber Khelifa equalised for Evian in the first half but they had no response to Valenciennes' second goal, which came just moments after the visitors had lost Djakaridja Kone to a 71st-minute red card.

VA's Mathieu Dossevi also missed a second-half penalty.

The mood was good in the home camp ahead of kick-off after coach Daniel Sanchez agreed a one-year contract extension in the week, but it was the relegation-battling visitors who threatened first, Olivier Sorlin's free-kick bringing a good save from Nicolas Penneteau.

Valenciennes replied with a dangerous attack in the eighth minute, Dossevi whipping a cross in from the right for Pujol to attempt a sublime back-heel which forced Bertrand Laquait to turn the ball to safety.

The hosts took the lead in the 14th minute after Rudy Mater lofted a cross into the area and Pujol benefited from some poor defending by Aldo Angoula to slot home.

With 31 minutes gone Pujol went down in the area under challenge from Angoula but the referee was unmoved.

A minute later Evian were level, the goal coming against the run of play as Yannick Sagbo played in Khelifa who dispatched a superb right-footed shot beyond Penneteau.

Three minutes into the second half the hosts had a chance to restore their lead when Opa Nguette was brought down by Brice Dja Djedje in the area only for Dossevi to screw the resulting penalty wide of the left post.

Evian's hopes of snatching an unlikely win took a nosedive when Kone left Nguette in a heap on the floor after a nasty looking challenge and he was shown a straight red.

And within two minutes the hosts profited as Anthony Le Tallec knocked down a long pass into the path of Saez, who took a touch before firing home from 18 yards.

There was almost late drama when VA's Nicolas Isimat-Mirin appeared to handle in the area, but the referee waved play on in the face of desperate Evian pleas for a penalty.

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French Ligue 1

French Ligue 1
Pos Team P Pts
1 Paris St Germain 38 83
2 Lyon 38 75
3 Monaco 38 71
4 Marseille 38 69
5 St Etienne 38 69
6 Bordeaux 38 63
7 Montpellier 38 56
8 Lille 38 56
9 Rennes 38 50
10 Guingamp 38 49
11 Nice 38 48
12 Bastia 38 47
13 Caen 38 46
14 Nantes 38 45
15 Reims 38 44
16 Lorient 38 43
17 Toulouse 38 42
18 Evian Thonon Gaillar 38 37
19 Metz 38 30
20 RC Lens 38 29