Valenciennes tops 10-man Evian

Valenciennes secured a place in the top six entering the winter break on Sunday as Jose Saez scored in the 74th minute to hand the club a 2-1 home win against 10-man Evian.

Valenciennes brought a three-match winless streak into the contest and started well with Gregory Pujol putting them in front after 14 minutes when he finished off Rudy Mater's cross.

However, Evian was back on level terms before halftime as Yannick Sagbo played Saber Khelifa into the area and he did well to slot his shot past goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau.

The home side had a great chance to restore its lead early in the second half when Brice Dja Djedje brought down Opa Nguette inside the penalty area, only for Mathieu Dossevi to fire the subsequent spot kick wide of the net.

But things turned once more for Valenciennes in the final 20 minutes as Djakaridja Kone was shown a straight red card for a poor challenge on Nguette, leading the home side to the winning goal just a few minutes later.

Anthony Le Tallec knocked down a long ball for Saez, who controlled it and lashed a shot past goalkeeper Bertrand Laquait.

Marseille finds itself tied atop Ligue 1 entering 2013 after the club secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over St Etienne.

Andre Ayew provided the lone goal in first-half stoppage time for Marseille, which moves level with PSG and Lyon on 38 points at the top of the league.

Toulouse also ends 2012 on a positive note with the club moving 10 points clear of the relegation places following a 2-0 home victory against Sochaux.

Adrien Regattin scored midway through the first half to put Toulouse on top, while Emmanuel Riviere put the result away with a goal five minutes from time.

Toulouse snaps a four-match winless streak with the win, while Sochaux remains in the bottom three having lost its last three matches.