Valenciennes holds off Monaco

Fontvieille, Monaco ( - Valenciennes earned just its third win in league play on Friday after stunning Monaco by a 2-1 count at the Stade Louis II.

Valenciennes has struggled mightily this campaign and came into Friday's tilt riding a six-match winless run in Ligue 1. But the visitors earned some good fortune and took the lead on the half-hour mark when a cross into the area was deflected in by Monaco's Eric Abidal for the own goal.

Valenciennes took its one-goal margin into the intermission and doubled the lead two minutes prior to the hour mark when Tongo Doumbia sent a cutting through ball behind the Monaco backline and David Ducourtioux got on the end of the pass to smash it past Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

Trailing by a pair of goals on home soil, Monaco sent numbers forward in the second half looking to get back into the match. The pressure paid off as Monaco pulled one back seven minutes from time when Ricardo Cavalho headed a corner kick back across the face of goal and James Rodriguez was there to turn it into the net.

The hosts were unable, however, to find an equalizer and tasted defeat in league play for just the second time this season.

The result lifts Valenciennes to 14 points from 19 matches, two adrift from safety, while Monaco remains two points behind Paris Saint-Germain for the top spot in Ligue 1.

A top-three clash highlights this weekend's Ligue 1 action as PSG host third place Lille on Sunday at the Parc des Princes.

Coming off an exceptional 2-1 victory over Bastia last weekend behind a brace from Soloman Kalou, the club will hope to seize an opportunity to win its second consecutive league match and pull to within one point of PSG in the table.

PSG, meanwhile, will be on the hunt for a third win on the bounce across all competitions following a 3-1 league win over Rennes on Dec. 14 and a 2-1 victory against St. Etienne on Wednesday in the Coupe de France.

"Yes, it was a really good victory against a very difficult team to play against," said goalkeeper Nicholas Douchez. "Above all, it was synonymous with qualification for the quarterfinals of the Coupe de la Ligue which is one of the club's objectives this season.

On a personal note, it was the chance to get a bit of playing time and spend a little more time on the pitch. It's been a long time since I started a match and I was really starting to miss it. I really enjoyed it and it went well."

Les Parisiens could be a bit shorthanded on Sunday, however as star striker Edinson Cavani could miss the match after returning to his native Uruguay for personal reasons.

Also in Ligue 1 on Sunday, Marseille looks to continue its ascent up the table against fourth-place Bordeaux at the Velodrome. A win for the hosts would push them above Bordeaux into the top-four.

In Sunday's final fixture, Lorient hosts Lyon at the Stade du Moustoir hoping to extend its unbeaten run in league play to an impressive seven matches.

On Saturday, St Etienne welcomes Nantes to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, while Bastia battles Montpellier at the Stade Armand-Cesari. Nice hosts Evian, Sochaux welcomes Rennes to the Stade Auguste Bonal.

Finally on Saturday, Reims welcomes Ajaccio to the Stade Auguste Delaune II, while Toulouse battles Guingamp at the Stade Municipal de Toulouse.