Ligue 1

Valenciennes clears from relegation zone

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Valenciennes edged clear of the relegation zone in Ligue 1 with only their third win of the season as they beat Auxerre 2-1 on Sunday.

Alain Traore gave Auxerre the lead 11 minutes before the interval, but Isimat Mirin and Mamadou Samassa struck in the second half to secure a much-needed win.

Valenciennes coach Daniel Sanchez had insisted this week that a victory over Auxerre was "imperative," but he must have feared the worst when his side went a goal down.

There had been precious few clear-cut chances before Auxerre opened the scoring when Cedric Hengbart's free-kick eventually fell to Traore to fire home with his left foot.

Valenciennes looked to hit back before the break but David Ducourtioux's powerful shot on target was deflected wide by Jeremy Berthod.

The home side also threatened first in the second half as Gael Danic saw his header blocked by goalkeeper Olivier Sorin.

And their pressure eventually told in the 59th minute when Renaud Cohade delivered a perfect cross for Mirin to climb above Hengbart and head home.

The momentum was now firmly with Valenciennes and Sorin had to be alert to deny Foued Kadir before the visiting goalkeeper was beaten by a shot by Danic which crashed back off the post.

But just when it looked like Auxerre would hold on for a point, a well-worked move freed Samassa in the area and he fired home a shot which Sorin got a hand to but could not keep out.

Kadir almost made it 3-1 in the 82nd minute but Sorin produced an excellent save.

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