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2003/04: Defence is key for Valencia

Published: Tuesday 1 June 2004, 17.53CET
Valencia CF conceded only five goals in their 13-match UEFA Cup campaign, appropriately completed with a clean sheet in the Gothenburg final against Olympique de Marseille, who had Fabien Barthez sent off before half-time.
2003/04: Defence is key for Valencia
Valencia took the trophy in 2004 ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 1 June 2004, 17.53CET

2003/04: Defence is key for Valencia

Valencia CF conceded only five goals in their 13-match UEFA Cup campaign, appropriately completed with a clean sheet in the Gothenburg final against Olympique de Marseille, who had Fabien Barthez sent off before half-time.

Valencia CF 2-0 Olympique de Marseille
(Vicente 45p, Mista 58)
Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg

Fittingly in a season when defences dominated, Valencia CF full-back Benito Carboni, at the age of 39 years and 43 days, became the oldest player to win a European final. Vicente Rodríguez and Mista may have scored the goals in the Gothenburg final to defeat Olympique de Marseille 2-0, but it was the unsung defender that most epitomised Rafael Benítez's disciplined side.

Valencia conceded just five goals in 13 matches en route to lifting the trophy, losing once in the process, to the season's surprise package, Gençlerbirligi SK. The unheralded Turkish side had overcome Blackburn Rovers FC, Sporting Clube de Portugal and Parma FC but an extra-time goal from Vicente saw Valencia through in a tight fourth-round tie. FC Girondins de Bordeaux were Valencia's next victims before compatriots Villarreal CF succumbed to a Mista strike, the only goal over two legs, in the semi-finals.

Marseille, who came into the competition after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group, also based their success on a miserly defence, with Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba providing the firepower up front. Drogba scored six goals in the four rounds against FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Liverpool FC, FC Internazionale Milano and Newcastle United FC as José Anigo's side advanced imperiously to the final, backed by a rearguard that allowed just two goals, both against Liverpool.

OM's vaunted three-man defence had kept both Inter and Newcastle out, but Valencia would have no such trouble. Veteran goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, the French club’s sole survivor from their 1993 UEFA Champions League triumph, was sent off shortly before half-time, and once Vicente had converted the subsequent penalty, there was no stopping Los Ché adding to the Spanish crown they had captured days before.

Last updated: 30/04/10 19.41CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2003/overview/index.html#200304+defence+valencia

Teams by round

Qualifying round

First round

Second round

Third round

Fourth Round

Quarter-finals

Semi-finals

Final

Top scorers

7Sonny AndersonVillarreal Villarreal
6Mateja KežmanPSV PSV
6Didier DrogbaMarseille Marseille
6Alan ShearerNewcastle Newcastle
5Nuno GomesBenfica Benfica
5Craig BellamyNewcastle Newcastle
5MistaValencia Valencia
5Albert RieraBordeaux Bordeaux
4Massimo MargiottaPerugia Perugia
4Oleh VenhlinskiyDnipro Dnipro

Final result

The final - 19/05/2004
Valencia2-0Marseille
SpainSpain
 
FranceFrance
  • Stadium: Ullevi
  • Place: Gothenburg (SWE)
Semi-finalists
NewcastleEnglandEngland
VillarrealSpainSpain
 
 
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