Valencia beat Marseille 2-0 to win UEFA Cup

Spanish champions Valencia beat Olympique Marseille of France 2-0 in Gothenburg, Sweden on Wednesday, to win their first European trophy since 1980.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Spanish champions Valencia beat Olympique Marseille of France 2-0 in Gothenburg, Sweden on Wednesday. Victory over Marseille meant European success for the club, for the first time since their 1980 Fairs Cup win. It was a night to remember for coach Rafael Benitez. "Thank you very much. I thought the first half was quite equal. It was difficult for us to find any space. Both teams had some opportunities and of course the last moments of the first half were the decisive part. Then in the second half we really dominated. So, at 2-0 they tried to put us under pressure, but in the end we were fairly comfortable winners," said Rafael Benitez, Valencia coach. The match swung heavily in Valencia's favour, when Marseille goalkeeper Fabien Barthez brought down Mista and was sent off in the final minute of the first half. Vicente scored with the resulting penalty, and Valencia never looked back. "It was such a clear-cut goalscoring opportunity, in this case, that it should have been a red card and also a penalty," Benitez said. Mista’s day Mista picked up the Man-of-the-Match award after adding the second goal with a cool finish in the second half. "Well, it's certainly a dream come true. The final stretch of the season has been difficult for us. But, in this final everything was fine and we achieved all that we wanted to. Really, it's all like a dream for me," Mista said. There was bitter disappointment for Marseille coach Jose Anigo, who felt that his players were a little unlucky to lose their goalkeeper on the stroke of half-time. "Yes, I think in the first half we had more of the game and we could have caused trouble for Valencia. We started well and we had opportunities to do more. But that changed with the incident with Barthez and the penalty. I thought the red card was harsh because in other circumstances it could have been just a yellow card. But then after that Valencia played better than us and that's just what happened," said Jose Anigo, Marseille coach. Valencia's young captain David Albelda was not letting the UEFA Cup out of his sights, but was quick to state that the priority now, was for his side to push on to Champions League honours. Particularly, after finishing runners-up to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in consecutive finals a few years ago. Next challenge "The next challenge for Valencia will be the fight for the Champions League, because it is special for Valencia and we lost two finals (2000 and 2001) in Milan and Paris. Next year will be a special year for Valencia," said Valencia's captain David Albelda. So, league and UEFA Cup success for Valencia, and they will be one of the teams to watch when next season's Champions League gets underway later this year. (AP)