FC Porto 1-2 Valencia CF Headed goals from Rubén Baraja and Marco Di Vaio bring victory to Valencia.
By Simon Hart at Stade Louis II
Valencia CF waited 24 years for a European trophy and now two have come along in the space of three months.
The Spanish champions and UEFA Cup holders won the UEFA Super Cup in Monaco with headed goals from Rubén Baraja and Marco Di Vaio, although Ricardo Quaresma's late drive for Porto ensured an exciting finish.
Of course, there have been changes at both clubs since they ended last season with such cause for celebration and this was a winning start in European competition for Valencia's new coach, Claudio Ranieri. Valencia lost the Spanish Super Cup earlier this week, but Ranieri will have relished the outcome at the stadium where his old club Chelsea FC lost a UEFA Champions League semi-final encounter last season.
Porto, who lost this fixture 1-0 to Milan last year, also had a new coach on show in Spaniard Victor Fernández. With several members of their Champions League-winning side now at other clubs, tonight brought the first sighting new defenders Giourkas Seitaridis and Pepe. In attack, meanwhile, Hélder Postiga was making his first start since his summer return from Tottenham Hotspur FC.
After ten minutes, the Portuguese international forward pounced on to a loose ball and flashed a half-volley goalwards, bringing a smart save out of Santiago Cañizares. The rebound fell to Carlos Alberto but the Brazilian's shot was blocked by Amedeo Carboni.
Postiga was there again with a header wide of the near post on 24 minutes, after the quick feet of Carlos Alberto, operating at the head of a four-man midfield, had opened up space down the Valencia left and fed Maniche to supply the cross. With Deco now departed, the onus will fall on Carlos Alberto - the only one of Porto's three scorers in May's Champions League final still at the Estádio do Dragão - to provide Porto with a creative spark this season.
The first opportunity of note for Valencia fell to Di Vaio. Vícente Rodriguez picked out the Italian but the ball came off the his shoulder and bounced wide. Di Vaio was starting alongside compatriot Bernardo Corradi, another summer recruit from Serie A, with Mista, Valencia's man of the match in last season's UEFA Cup final, confined to the bench until late on.
If Di Vaio was profligate there, Baraja showed him how it was done on 32 minutes when he netted with a powerful header. Curro Torres sent over a cross from the right, and Baraja met the ball strongly from close to the penalty spot and sent it flying past the right arm of Vitor Baía.
Porto almost drew level eleven minutes into the second half, when Carlos Alberto stepped inside his marker and lashed in a shot which Cañizares turned behind at his near post. However, the match's decisive second goal came at the other end.
Di Vaio scores
Vicente was the architect with a superb delivery to the far post where Di Vaio's header directed the ball in off the woodwork. Valencia now really discovered their fluency, and only the crossbar denied Baraja a third goal from another headed opportunity.
However, Porto were not finished. After Maniche had sent a free header over the bar, Quaresma, scorer of the winning goal in the Portuguese Super Cup a week ago, reduced the deficit. It was a fabulous drive from 25 metres which Cañizares could not block, but not enough to prevent a second successive Super Cup defeat for Porto.