Mestalla’s electric atmosphere propelling Valencia towards safety

Khel Now

May 8 2023

Los Che have just recorded one defeat in six games on home soil under new coach and club legend Rubén Baraja.

Inaugurated on May 20th, 1923, Mestalla is the oldest of all the current LaLiga Santander stadiums and Valencia CF’s home ground has witnessed many special moments over the years. There haven’t been too many relegation battles, but that’s the situation Los Che find themselves in right now and that’s why the point from the team’s 1-1 draw with Villarreal CF on Wednesday night – the first fixture of the month of Mestalla’s centenary – was one to be treasured.

Even though Mestalla has hosted epic cup games, European semi-finals and championship-winning Valencia CF sides, the atmosphere on Wednesday night was one of the most electric and passionate of all.

Valencia CF had gotten off a strong start in the second half on Wednesday, after managing to keep a clean sheet in the first 45 minutes against fifth-placed Villarreal CF. After André Almeida came close with a big chance seven minutes into the second half, sending the ball just wide of the left post, Mestalla was truly buzzing, with more than 43,000 supporters offering the players an energy boost from the stands.

Even though a clinical Nicolas Jackson made the most of a loose ball to send it past Giorgi Mamardashvili and into the back of the net, giving Villarreal CF the lead a couple of minutes after the hour mark, the crowd kept going.

There was so much at stake in this Valencian Community derby, as The Yellow Submarine are pushing for a top-four spot and Los Che are trying to avoid relegation to LaLiga SmartBank. Current coach and club legend, Rubén Baraja, was well aware that Wednesday’s game was important for his team and knew he could count on support from the stands. “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, the Valencia CF supporters did indeed deliver for yet another game. There was no silence and no murmuring heard from the stands after Jackson’s opener. The fans transmitted a much-needed positive energy to the players, who took the initiative and pushed forward.

Edinson Cavani rippled the net with a powerful strike from inside the box in the 67th minute, but his goal was disallowed for offside. Still, Valencia CF insisted and Samuel Lino equalised with a low effort five minutes later. The game could have gone either way in the closing stages, when it turned into an exciting back-and-forth affair as both teams pushed for a winner.

 Los Che academy graduate Alberto Marí even came off the bench to chip the ball over Pepe Reina and into the back of the net in stoppage time, sending Valencia CF fans into frenzy. Yet, Marí was unlucky to be just offside, with the goal being ruled out. It wasn’t meant to be for Valencia CF, but they had bounced back with the help of their fans to secure a very important point that meant they ended the night outside the bottom three.

Third-highest attendance this season

ValenciaValencia CF have recorded just one defeat in six games at Mestalla under Baraja

Valencia CF have recorded just one defeat in six games at Mestalla under Baraja, winning three, drawing two and losing just one since he took over. The first day that he took charge of the team, the former Valencia CF captain asked for the fans’ support and they have responded to the call in emphatic fashion.

Wednesday’s 43,634 attendance was even their third-highest in LaLiga Santander this season. Just a couple of weeks before the 100th anniversary of Mestalla’s inauguration, fans demonstrated for yet another game that they will be behind the team no matter what.

“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.”

Mestalla has recorded the sixth-best attendance figures in LaLiga Santander this season, averaging more than 40,000 per game even with the team at the bottom end of the table. With five games to go, Valencia CF will host Real Madrid and RCD Espanyol in their remaining two home matches later this month. Both games will be crucial in Los Che’s bid to avoid relegation and Mestalla is expected to be buzzing once more.

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