Kadir gets Valenciennes back on track
Foued Kadir's early goal was enough for Valenciennes FC to beat Stade de Reims 1-0 at the Stade du Hainaut and return to winning ways on Saturday.
Valenciennes FC 1-0 Stade de Reims
Valenciennes had seen their charge at the top of the table halted by last weekend’s narrow loss at Saint-Etienne, but here they had Kadir to thank for the sixth-minute strike that proved the difference against promoted Reims, whose poor recent run continues.
Kadir’s sixth Ligue 1 goal of what is already the most prolific campaign of his career maintained the northern club’s unbeaten home record this season and lifted them up to provisional fifth place, just a point off Saint-Etienne in second. Meanwhile, Reims are just a point outside the relegation zone after a seventh match without a win.
Hubert Fournier’s side had scored just twice in six games before heading to the Stade du Hainaut, so the last thing they would have wanted to do here was concede the opening goal, but that is exactly what happened. Gaël Danic and Gaëtan Bong combined before the latter crossed for Algerian international Kadir, who controlled neatly and then slotted past Kossi Agassa.
The hosts could have increased their lead before the interval, as Danic found Anthony Le Tallec, whose shot from the edge of the area shaved Agassa’s left-hand post. All that Reims could muster in reply was a Nicolas Fauvergue header from Aïssa Mandi’s cross that only narrowly missed the target.
Nine unbeaten at home
Fauvergue, once of Lille, was replaced by Kamel Ghilas at the interval as the visitors looked to offer something different in the second half, and the former Hull City player did head just wide from a Florent Ghisolfi centre. Ghilas, like Kadir an Algerian international, then tested Nicolas Penneteau in the home goal after pouncing on a poor clearance, and tried his luck again after Mathieu Dossevi had rattled the woodwork at the other end.
But Daniel Sanchez’s side kept a rare clean sheet as they held out for a precious win to extend their run without losing at home to nine games. The last visiting team to win at the Stade du Hainaut was PSG back at the start of May. The capital side will be VA’s next visitors later this month, but it is not a game that they will be looking forward too.
Before that, Valenciennes must go to struggling Nancy next weekend, while Reims continue their search for a win as they entertain Bordeaux in Champagne.