Reims continue top-four push
Last Updated: 01/03/14 9:51pm
Celebrations for Reims against Valenciennes
Reims continued their push for a top-four finish and European football by beating relegation-threatened Valenciennes 3-1 in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
Goals from Nicolas de Preville, Prince Oniangue and Gaetan Charbonnier earned the home side their third win in four games as they closed the gap on fourth-placed Lille to four points.
Mathieu Dossevi's reply came too late for Valenciennes, who are third from bottom in the standings and five points from safety.
Reims have been something of a revelation so far this season and their confidence was on show after four minutes when Grzegorz Krychowiak's snap-shot drew a smart save from visiting goalkeeper Macedo Novaes.
They were in front after 20 minutes, though, thanks to De Preville, who was fed a pass in the area by Antoine Conte before planting a right-footed shot past Novaes.
De Preville threatened again minutes later but this time his effort was high of the mark, and Valenciennes responded soon after with a powerful volley from Tongo Doumbia which was dealt with at full stretch by home keeper Johnny Placide.
But Reims were able to extend their lead eight minutes before the interval when Oniangue tucked away on the rebound after Conte's initial strike was palmed away by Novaes.
Valenciennes showed greater purpose in the second half and Placide twice came to the rescue against Abdul Waris, who tried his luck with a header and a drive from distance.
Novaes was also called into action after 73 minutes by a strike from Odair Fortes, but the VA defence was breached again three minutes later by Charbonnier, who made the most of a precise pass from Fortes before firing low into the net.
Dossevi denied the home side a clean sheet with his goal three minutes from time, which was helped on its way by a fumble from Placide, but the damage had already been done.
French Ligue 1
|2||Paris St Germain||10||18|
|17||Evian Thonon Gaillar||10||10|