On the 19th of May 2004, the Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden, bore witness to an enthralling clash between Valencia and Olympique de Marseille in the 2004 UEFA Cup Final. The intense showdown culminated in a 2-0 victory for Valencia, with Vicente and Mista delivering the crucial goals. This triumph marked Valencia’s fourth major European trophy and a long-awaited return to glory after a 24-year drought.
Valencia entered the final with an impressive 14-match unbeaten streak, only recently snapped by Villarreal. Their path to the final had been paved with determination and resilience, ultimately leading them to a dominant performance against Marseille. In contrast, Marseille’s form had been shaky, with the team enduring four defeats in their last five matches in Ligue 1.
The match began cautiously, with the windy conditions setting the tone for a conservative start. Marseille’s early threat, spearheaded by Didier Drogba, was met with strong defensive play from Valencia, with Roberto Ayala making his presence known with a robust challenge. The momentum shifted in Valencia’s favor as they gained control of possession, frustrating Marseille and leading to a booking for Steve Marlet in the early stages.
Valencia’s relentless pursuit paid off just before halftime when Fabien Barthez’s foul on Mista in the box resulted in his dismissal and a penalty for Valencia. Vicente made no mistake, confidently converting the penalty and securing a 1-0 lead for Valencia heading into the break.
The second half witnessed Valencia’s continued dominance, culminating in a well-crafted goal by Mista after a brilliant setup from Vicente. Marseille’s valiant efforts were met with resilient defending from Valencia, with Santiago Cañizares making critical saves to deny Marseille any chance of a comeback.
As the match progressed, Valencia maintained their composure and control, ultimately sealing a well-deserved victory and clinching their first major European trophy in 24 years. The win also etched Amedeo Carboni’s name in the record books as the oldest player to secure a European final victory at 39 years and 43 days old. Valencia’s triumphant performance in the 2004 UEFA Cup Final marked a remarkable return to the forefront of European football.