Valencia, Real to Play in History-Making Final

Published May 11th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Barcelona won the match 2-1 but Valencia celebrated the victory as they won 5-3 on aggregate in the semifinal of the Champions League at Nou Camp, Wednesday, booking their place in the European Cup final against Real Madrid on May 24th. 

This will be the first final ever played with two teams from the same country competing in the same event. 

Real went through to the May 24 final after defeating Bayern Munich 3-2 on aggregate and have won seven of 10 European Cup finals, are now looking to make it eight out of 11 at the Stade de France. 

Barcelona were hoping to repeat the second-leg comeback they had achieved against Chelsea in the quarterfinals but the game got off to a slow start as in the 13th minute Rivaldo headed a cross from Luis Figo and Valencia breathed a sigh of relief as it went over the bar. 

The Brazilian didn't give up easily as two minutes later he shot the ball again, this time a 20-yard shot that was intercepted by Canizares. 

Barcelona trailing 4-1 from the first leg was expected to come out in search for three goals that they needed to save the tie. 

But Valencia's Gaizka Mendieta had other plans when he scored the first goal, giving his team the 5-1 edge on aggregate in the 69th minute, then Frank De Boer headed Barcelona level after 78 minutes and Philip Cocu scored in injury time. 

Valencia, who came through the Champions League qualifying round last August, wrapped up the tie when playmaking captain Gaizka Mendieta shot home brilliantly in the 70th minute to ensure a second successive European final for their Argentine coach Hector Cuper following Real Mallorca's Cup Winners Cup final appearance last season. 

On Tuesday in the other semi-final, Nicolas Anelka's 32nd minute goal equalized Carsten Jancker's early effort at the Olympiastadion. Giovane Elbe's goal for Bayern was too little too late despite a 2-1 win - (Several sources). 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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