(Football news) Los Che are currently in a relegation struggle, which hasn’t happened often. For this reason, the team’s point from their 1-1 draw with Villarreal CF on Wednesday night, the first game of Mestalla’s centenary month, was one to be valued.
The atmosphere on Wednesday night was one of the most electrifying and passionate of all, despite Mestalla having hosted thrilling cup matches, European semifinals, and championship-winning Valencia CF sides.
On Wednesday, Valencia CF had a great second half after keeping a clean sheet for the opening 45 minutes against fifth-place Villarreal CF. More than 43,000 spectators gave the team encouragement from the stands after André Almeida missed a golden opportunity seven minutes into the second half by shooting the ball just wide of the left post.
A few minutes after the hour mark, Nicolas Jackson capitalised on a loose ball to send it past Giorgi Mamardashvili and into the goal, giving Villarreal CF the lead. Despite this, the audience didn’t stop cheering.
With The Yellow Submarine vying for a top-four berth and Los Che attempting to prevent relegation from LaLiga, this Valencian Community derby had a lot on the line. Rubén Baraja, the team’s current coach and a club veteran, was fully aware that Wednesday’s game was crucial for his squad and felt he could rely on fan support.
“I expect a great atmosphere,” Baraja said. “It’s a regional derby of great importance. I think we are performing at our best at Mestalla and I am optimistic that a great atmosphere will be generated.”
And for yet another game, the Valencia CF fans did certainly deliver. After Jackson’s opening pitch, there was no silence and no mumbling from the fans. The players took the initiative and made progress as a result of the supporters’ much-needed positive spirit.
In the 67th minute, Edinson Cavani powerfully struck the goal from within the box, but the goal was called off for offside. However, Valencia CF persisted, and five minutes later Samuel Lino levelled the scores with a feeble shot. In the last minutes, when both sides were vying for the victory, the game was in a dead heat and might have gone either way.
Alberto Mar, a Los Che academy graduate, even came off the bench in stoppage time to chip the ball over Pepe Reina and into the goal, sending Valencia CF supporters into a frenzy. However, Mar was unfortunate to be slightly offside, resulting in the goal being disallowed. Valencia CF was unable to overcome the setback, but with the support of their supporters, they recovered to earn a crucial point, allowing them to finish the evening outside the bottom three.
This season’s third-highest attendance
In six games at the Mestalla under Baraja, Valencia CF have only suffered one loss, winning three, drawing two, and losing one. The former Valencia CF captain requested the support of the supporters on the first day he took over the team, and they reacted forcefully to his appeal.
Even so, Wednesday’s attendance of 43,634 was the third-highest in LaLiga Santander this year. Fans once again shown that they will support the squad in any situation just a few weeks before the 100th anniversary of the opening of Mestalla.
“In the dressing room we know that the best thing about this season is the fans,” right-back Thierry Correia said after Wednesday’s clash. “In every game we play here we give everything for them. We are grateful for the effort they make for us.”
Even with the team at the bottom of the standings, Mestalla has the sixth-best attendance figures in LaLiga Santander this season, averaging over 40,000 per game. Valencia CF will host Real Madrid and RCD Espanyol in their final two home games later this month, leaving them with five games remaining. Both contests are essential for Los Che’s attempt to avoid relegation, and Mestalla is sure to be packed.