Home » Europa League, International Soccer, Valencia

Europa League Play-off: Stabaek at Valencia

28 August 2009 No Comment

One part of Spanish soccer I do like is the late start times of soccer matches. La Liga’s weekly Saturday night contest begins at 10 pm (meaning it ends close to midnight) – no sporting event in the United States has that scheduled start time. Last season, I remember thinking it was crazy that Game 2 of the NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs had an 8:37 pm start time at Wrigley Field.

Thus, I should not have been surprised when the Europa League Play-off match hosted by Valencia had a scheduled start time of 9:30 pm. I left Benimassot at 6:30 pm and by the time I found the Mestalla and parked the car it was 8:30 pm.

Parking at the Mestalla
The Mestalla is similar to Wrigley Field in that the stadium is in the middle of the city. There is no parking lot in the immediate vicinity as apartments, restaurants and bars surround the stadium. I found a parking garage (Garaje Primado Reig) within a few blocks of the stadium which cost .0329 cents per minute – a strange cost metric for a public parking lot but at less than 2 euros per hour I was not going to complain.

Obtaining Tickets
After walking the few blocks to the stadium, I headed straight for the ticket office. I remembered many extra tickets around the box office when attending games at Real Madrid and Barcelona in December 2004. As I had thought, scalpers and fans had extra tickets. However, with the cheapest seat from the ticket office costing 10 euros there was no reason to buy from a scalper unless they could beat the 10 euro price point. They could not so I bought a seat in the upper deck for 10 euros.

The Match
With Valencia already ahead in aggregate 3-0 from their match at Stabaek, Valencia did not have to worry about not advancing to the group stage of the Europa League. In convincing fashion Valencia won the second match 4-1 (7-1 on aggregate).

Miku scored three goals for Valencia – one in the 28th, 29th and 80th minute while Nikola Zigic scored the other goal for Valencia. Stabaek’s Pontus Farnerud made the match close towards the end of the first half as he scored at the 36th minute to cut Valencia’s lead to 2-1. However, Valencia was too much for Stabaek in the end.

Estadio Mestalla
The upper deck at the Mestalla is one of the steepest I have ever seen. I cannot think of another stadium that compares. Other stadiums would probably have three rows in the same height that the Mestalla has two rows.

The pitch at the Mestalla was a complete mess. It appeared to be a dirt pitch with patches of grass around the field. The pitch broke up every time a player would try to cut. At halftime the stadium crew came out to fix the divots created by the players in the first half. Also, they watered at halftime with the sprinkler system. They did that before the game as well, which at the time I thought was odd but finally realized it was necessary.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.