Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Valencia vs Leeds in 2001 UEFA Champions League semi-final

With Lim running the club into the ground and now not even being shy about the fact that he doesn't care (see his Financial Times interview where he says the club is a "trophy asset that is incredibly good for networking) it's hard to believe that Valencia was one of the top clubs in Europe. Today is the 20th anniversary of our last UEFA Champions League semi-final versus Leeds United. (It is, incidentally, also Leeds' last Champions League game.)

Valencia had of course reached the previous final, suffering a disappointing 0-3 reversal against Real Madrid. The result was also a let down in Zaragoza, since Madrid had finished 5th and it therefore deprived Zaragoza of a Champs league place. In the summer, in a reminder that we were always a selling club, we lost Piojo Lopez to Lazio for 35m (€49m in today's money.) Gerard to Barcelona for 24m and Farinos to Inter for €16m. We did at least use part of that money wisely, bringing in players who would be the mainstay of the team in the following years: Aimar from River Plate, John Carew from Rosenberg, Vicente from Levante and Ayala from Milan.

Under Hector Cuper, Valencia was fired up and ready to go one better. With only the top two Spanish teams qualifying automatically for the group stage, we had to enter a play-off versus Tirol Innsbruck. After a goalless draw in Austria, Valencia easily brushed them aside 4-1 at Mestalla, with a brace from Mendieta and Diego Alonso.