VALENCIENNES, April 12 (Ligue 1) - A first-half brace from Steve Savidan saw Valenciennes pick up only their second win in nine league games as they heaped more misery on Ligue 1 strugglers Strasbourg.
Savidan headed home his first goal on 26 minutes before doubling his tally three minutes from the break after his saved penalty rebounded back to him.
VA now have a bit of breathing space from the relegation zone as they move into 10th place while things look even more perilous for Strasbourg who are second from bottom, level on points with Lens and Paris St Germain, after their sixth defeat on the trot.
VA coach Antoine Kombouare was forced to watch from the stands after being hit with a four-match suspension for using ``coarse language towards a referee'' during the 2-1 league defeat to Lyon.
But it did not seem to affect his team too badly and VA took the lead on 26 minutes thanks to Savidan's header from Geoffrey Doumeng's cross.
Strasbourg almost equalised six minutes later with a powerful header from Mamadou Bah, but VA keeper Willy Grondin reacted well to punch it clear.
Savidan doubled his and his side's tally on 42 minutes after the hosts were awarded a penalty for a foul on Sebastien Roudet on Gregory Paisley.
The 29-year-old stepped up to the spot but Stephane Cassard made a great diving save to his right to push it out.
However, it was cleared only as far as Savidan again and the striker fired home his 12th goal of the campaign.
Strasbourg came closest to equalising on 69 minutes but VA defender Eric Chelle cleared at the last second to deny Guillaume Lacour.
Savidan almost notched a hat-trick 10 minutes from time but Cassard dived quickly to pull off a good save.