Sochaux suffer late blow
Last Updated: March 16, 2013 10:59pm
Ryad Boudebouz celebrates putting Sochaux ahead
Sochaux missed the chance to climb back out of the relegation zone after conceding a late equaliser at home to Valenciennes in a match they should have won.
Eric Hely's men, who dropped into the bottom three following successive defeats to last-placed Nancy and Evian, looked set to claim a morale-boosting triumph after taking an eighth-minute lead through Ryad Boudebouz and dominating for large periods.
However, after hitting the crossbar twice and also being denied by a string of fine saves by visiting goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau, the hosts were hit by an agonising sucker-punch with eight minutes remaining when teenage substitute Opa Nguette scored a brilliant equaliser for mid-table Valenciennes.
Sochaux were humiliated 5-1 by fellow strugglers Evian last time out and they looked determined to make amends for that performance today as they started in aggressive fashion, with Boudebouz's set-piece deliveries at the centre of their early onslaught.
His third-minute corner should have led to the opening goal of the game but Cedric Kante's header was not given even though television replays showed the ball had crossed the line before it was cleared by Maor Melikson.
Another Boudebouz corner caused more problems in the visiting defence in the fifth minute, with Penneteau called on to keep out a Loic Poujol header, before Sochaux struck the crossbar for the first time two minutes later.
Boudebouz was again involved, with his free-kick from the left picking out Cedric Bakambu, whose header crashed against the frame of the goal.
A Sochaux goal looked on the cards and it arrived just a minute later through Boudebouz, who stole in unmarked to head home after Penneteau had parried a Sebastien Roudet shot.
That goal was no more than the hosts deserved and they should really have had the game sewn up by the hour mark with Bakambu and Kante forcing superb saves from Penneteau either side of half-time before Kante headed another Boudebouz corner against the crossbar.
Sochaux's inability to get a second goal ended up costing them dear as VA battled back for a point.
Home goalkeeper Simon Pouplin did well to keep out Carlos Sanchez's 64th-minute header but he was powerless in the 82nd minute when 18-year-old Nguette skipped past Poujol before smashed home a stunning left-footed shot.