Valencia out in disgrace
By Adam Marshall. Last Updated: 07/12/04 9:31pm
Valencia lost their composure as they crashed out of the UEFA Champions League to Werder Bremen.
Claudio Ranieri's side only displayed the passion that was so woefully lacking from their game when the match had slipped out of their grasp in the closing stages and there will be serious repercussions as referee Anders Frisk struggled to maintain control of the proceedings.
Substitute Nelson Valdez caused all the problems for the Spaniards. The youngster came off the bench to take advantage of some statuesque defending by rounding Santiago Canizares to slip home the crucial first goal with seven minutes remaining.
His golfing celebration angered the home crowd and Canizares who furiously remonstrated with Frisk and earned a yellow card for his protest. The bad blood bubbled over time and time again in the time that was left and Miguel Angulo was rightly dismissed for an agricultural hack at Valdez's knee.
The Paraguayan forward exacted perfect revenge in stoppage time when he found himself in acres of space inside the box to collect a short free kick and thump his second goal past a motionless Canizares. This sparked more mayhem around the pitch with supporters throwing objects towards the players and flare-ups taking place behind Frisk's back.
There had been little warning of what was to follow even though Frisk had been characteristically swift to brandish the yellow card throughout. Valencia were pretty listless and could not muster a shot on target until 41 minutes when Mista drove the ball straight at Andreas Reinke.
Werder looked the better team with Johan Micoud forcing a fingertip save out of Canizares and Frank Baumann and Petri Pasanen defending stoutly at the other end, Baumann making one superb saving challenge on Mista.
Pablo Aimar's shot led to Mista failing to net at the far post but only a triple substitution finally breathed some life into Valencia's play. Ranieri's fellow Italian Marco Di Vaio always seems unlucky not to make the starting line-up and, with his first touch, he spectacularly volleyed goalwards. Although no corner was given, Reinke made a dazzling save to divert the piledriver over the bar.
Di Vaio's later contributions were disappointing; he was caught off-side three times in quick succession, much to the Mestalla crowd's chagrin, and managed to obstruct team-mate David Navarro as the duo tried to meet Vicente's intelligently chipped cross.
From then on, it was all about Valdez and Valencia's serious loss of discipline. Riled by Valdez's celebrations, they lost their heads virtually to a man and there can be no defence of the dismissed Angulo who made matters worse by appearing to spit at an opponent as he made his way off the field.
Frisk flashed yellow cards all over the place in the ugly finale; Valerien Ismael one of the men involved in a fracas and it will take some time for the match officials to clear up what exactly went on in injury time.
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|Valencia||Team Statistics||Werder Bremen|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|1||Shots on Target||5|
|4||Shots off Target||4|
UEFA Champions League
Tue 7th Dec - Group H
PSG1 - 3CSKA Mosc
FC Porto2 - 1Chelsea
Tue 7th Dec - Group G
Valencia0 - 2W Bremen
Inter3 - 0Anderlecht
Tue 7th Dec - Group F
Celtic0 - 0AC Milan
Shak Donetsk2 - 0Barcelona
Tue 7th Dec - Group E
Arsenal5 - 1Rosenborg
Panathinaikos4 - 1PSV
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||4||4|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
|1||Paris St Germain||4||10|
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H