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Rediff.com  » Sports » Valencia win Super Cup

Valencia win Super Cup

August 28, 2004 10:54 IST

Two superb headers by Ruben Baraja and new signing Marco Di Vaio gave Valencia a well-deserved 2-1 victory over European champions Porto in a closely-fought European Super Cup final on Friday.

Porto's new striker from Barcelona, substitute Ricardo Quaresma, blasted home an unstoppable drive from 20 metres after 78 minutes to give Porto hope but UEFA Cup holders Valencia held on for the win.

Their victory -- a first trophy since 1999 for coach Claudio Ranieri who won the King's Cup in his first spell in charge of Valencia -- meant Porto lost this fixture for the second year in succession after going down 1-0 to AC Milan a year ago.

Since the event moved to Monaco as a one-off match in 1998, the UEFA Cup winners have beaten the European champions five times in seven games.

Ranieri, who lost at the Stade Louis II stadium with Chelsea to Monaco in the semi-finals of last season's Champions League, had a far better experience at the ground this time.

"It is a great consolation for losing the Spanish Super Cup this week and my boys did a good job," Ranieri said.

"They must take the credit for working so hard and winning the UEFA Cup last season to get here, I've just added a little bit. I have received a great team. Rafael Benitez worked very hard for Valencia and I want to continue in this way."

Valencia's first goal scorer Baraja added: "We were very strong in midfield today and played the match the way we wanted to play it. It's a great victory for us and we needed it."

Victor Fernandez, the new Porto coach added: "It was a hotly disputed match and the difference was they took their chances and we did not."

WRETCHED START

The game started slowly with a wretched first half but came alive in the second, turning into a keenly contested Iberian derby with Norwegian referee Terje Hauge booking six players.

Valencia appeared to have the game won after Baraja's 32nd-minute header and a 67th-minute header from Di Vaio, their new signing from Juventus, gave them a two-goal cushion.

Porto, however, ensured an exciting climax with Quaresma's outstanding goal that diving Valencia keeper Santiago Canizares got both hands to, but could not stop.

Valencia, with three changes to the side that beat Olympique Marseille in the UEFA Cup final in May, won the trophy for the first time since 1980.

Porto started the match with four changes from the side that beat Monaco to win the European Cup and looked a shadow of that team for most of the game.

Fernandez, whose team won the Portuguese Super Cup last week, opted for a more adventurous three-man attack than European Cup-winning coach Jose Mourinho, but Porto failed to click until the late stages when the match was all but lost.

Valencia broke the deadlock after good approach work by Di Vaio and Curro Torres put Vicente into a dangerous position wide on the right. The winger sent over a perfect cross for Baraja who headed high and wide of Vitor Baia.

The Spaniards narrowly deserved their lead, although Brazilian midfielder Carlos Alberto worked tirelessly for Porto with little to show for his efforts.

He almost equalised after a deft run and shot in the 56th but Canizares pushed away his near-post drive for a corner.

Valencia doubled their lead when Vicente crossed from the left and the unmarked Di Vaio's header went in off the post.

Quaresma scored the goal of the night for Porto a week after scoring their winner in the Portuguese Super Cup against Benfica, but had to be content with being on the losing side.
Mike Collett
Source:
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