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Vicente strikes silver for Valencia

Published: Friday 26 March 2004, 0.10CET
Valencia CF 2-0 Gençlerbirligi SK (agg: 2-1 aet) Vicente's silver goal ends Gençlerbirligi resistance.
Published: Friday 26 March 2004, 0.10CET

Vicente strikes silver for Valencia

Valencia CF 2-0 Gençlerbirligi SK (agg: 2-1 aet) Vicente's silver goal ends Gençlerbirligi resistance.

Vicente Rodríguez's silver goal four minutes into extra time finally ended ten-man Gençlerbirligi SK's resistance at the Mestalla to take Valencia CF through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.

Mista breaks deadlock
Substitute Mista had pulled the home side level on aggregate on 63 minutes, but Damir Botonjic in the Gençlerbirligi goal took the game into extra time with a string of excellent saves, despite the late dismissal of Mustafa Özkan. Vicente, however, ensured Valencia's pressure eventually told to end the Turkish team's eye-catching European run and earned the Spanish side a quarter-final meeting with FC Girondins de Bordeaux.

Palop injury
Valencia coach Rafael Benítez made five changes from the side that had lost the first leg to Filip Daems' early penalty, the fifth forced upon him after Andrés Palop, who had been favoured throughout the competition to usual No1 Santiago Cañizares, was injured in the warm-up and ceded his place to the Spanish international.

Unchanged side
Ersun Yanal had the luxury of picking an unchanged side, and for most of the first half Gençlerbirligi continued from where they had left off in Ankara, defending resolutely and starving an in-form Valencia of any clear sights of goal.

Having moved to within a point of Spanish league leaders Real Madrid CF with their 5-1 thrashing of RCD Mallorca at the weekend, Valencia came into the match with confidence high, but that soon gave way to frustration as their route to goal remained firmly blocked.

Botonjic on form
Roberto Ayala's seventh-minute header was comfortably kept out by Botonjic who also saved well from Mohamed Sissoko two minutes later. Gençlerbirligi, who had conceded just three goals in seven UEFA Cup ties this season, offered little attacking threat, Ali Tandogan coming closest on 22 minutes.

Cutting edge
But as in the first leg, Valencia were struggling to turn possession into chances and it was not until the introducton of Mista - the hat-trick hero from the Mallorca victory - ten minutes into the second half that they showed a cutting edge.

Mista strikes
Mista found his range with a header from Sissoko's cross on 57 minutes, then broke the deadlock six minutes later, shooting brilliantly beyond Botonjic from just outside the area. Mista had the chance to turn the tie on 78 minutes, but he was this time thwarted by Botonjic, who then saved brilliantly from Vicente.

Özkan dismissed
Gençlerbirligi's chances were hit four minutes from time when Özkan was sent off for a reckless challenge on Pablo Aimar and Valencia almost made their man advantage count immediately, but Ayala put his header wide with the goal at his mercy.

Vicente winner
The Argentinian defender's blushes were spared soon afterwards when, in extra time, Miguel Angulo crossed to the far post where Vicente fired in an angled left-foot winner that left Botonjic with no chance.

Last updated: 26/03/04 10.57CET