Valencia outplay Marseille, win UEFA Cup

Associated Press

Goteborg, May 20:

Vicente Rodriguez and Miguel Angel ‘Mista’ Ferrer scored a goal in each half on Wednesday as Spanish champion Valencia won the UEFA Cup after beating Marseille 2-0.

Valencia, which lost back-to back Champions League finals in 2000 and ‘01, won its third UEFA Cup, though it was called the Inter Cities Fairs Cup when it won in 1962 and ‘63.

Vicente converted from the penalty spot in injury time to give Valencia a 1-0 lead with just seconds remaining in the first half on a cold, windy night at Ullevi stadium. Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez was sent off for bringing down Mista inside the penalty area in the 45th minute, and Vicente easily scored from the spot.

Jeremy Gavanon, who replaced Barthez, had no chance on the penalty, diving left as Vicente rolled the ball inside the right post.

Mista, a 25-year-old striker, gave Valencia a two-goal cushion in the 58th minute. Vicente set up the second goal with a perfect cross from the left flank to Mista, who was unmarked and fired a left-foot drive past Gavanon from just outside the area.

Mista, who trailed only Real Madrid’s Ronaldo in league scoring this season, received UEFA’s Man of the Match award for his final performance — a 10,000 cheque to be given to a charity of his choice in Spain.

Down to 10 men, Marseille struggled in the second half against Valencia, which has one of Europe’s toughest defences.

Marlet fired a shot over the crossbar after goalkeeper Santiago Canizares gave up a rebound in the 65th, and Canizares fisted away a shot by Sylvain N’Diaye in the 65th for Marseille’s two sharpest chances.

More than 10,000 fans from Valencia made the long trip to Sweden, UEFA said. Immediately after the final whistle, thousands of joyous and noisy Valencia supporters — more than 4,000, according to Spanish TV — gathered outside the city hall, waving flags, setting off fireworks and cheering.

Amedeo Carboni, 39, became the oldest player ever to win a European club competition final. It was his 100th appearance in UEFA competitions. He is the 16th player to reach that milestone.