Further boost for Lille
Last Updated: 12/04/14 10:37pm
Divock Origi: Only goal of the game
Lille kept a firm grip on third place in Ligue 1 and left Valenciennes in a parlous state after Divock Origi's second-half strike earned a 1-0 home win.
The home side had been on top, but not without seeing their goal threatened on occasion, before Origi scored the game's only goal in the 69th minute.
He slotted past Magno Novaes to leave Valenciennes mired in the relegation zone, still six points from safety on Saturday night and praying that gap would not widen over the course of the weekend.
Lille began positively, with Marko Basa releasing Djibril Sidibe, who forced Novaes into an early stop.
Marvin Martin then found Salomon Kalou on the right of the penalty area and the former Chelsea forward's instant right-footed shot beat Novaes but hit the post.
Valenciennes threatened for the first time in the 36th minute when Tongo Doumbia was allowed to run and keep running from inside his own half, before unloading a 22-yard strike that Vincent Enyeama kept out.
Sidibe created Lille's next opening when his cross from the left was met by Nolan Roux with a low right-footed drive that Novaes blocked.
Novaes was again to the rescue for Valenciennes early in the second half when he kept out a firm effort from Sibide that was heading for the top of the net.
Five minutes before the breakthrough arrived, Valenciennes had a decent chance of their own when Mathieu Dossevi laid the ball off to Jean-Christophe Bahebeck on the left of the penalty area, and his right-footed snap shot was kept out by a firm hand from Enyeama.
Lille broke at pace for the goal, with Kalou leading a counter-attack and playing in Origi on the right with a perfect pass. Origi put a classy finish to a high-quality move with his slotted finish.
The visitors were not finished, and they remained purposeful, creating one final glorious chance with time running out when Loris Nery's cross found Mathieu Dossevi. His right-footed volley was heading for the back of the net but Enyeama pulled off the best save of the game, one that ensured the three points would remain in Lille.
French Ligue 1
|2||Paris St Germain||18||37|
|17||Evian Thonon Gaillar||17||19|