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Levante UD and the Copa del Rey

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Levante UD is Valencia’s second team, currently mired in the middle of the 2nd Division table. Their games are in held in the Stadium Ciutat de Valencia, in the northern neighborhood of Sant Llorenç.

Two weeks ago we tried to go to the game against Betis, only to realize that we had no cash on us, and credit cards weren’t accepted. By the time we found a cash machine, it was too late and we opted for a pub.

Loved by Valencians, Los Granotes have enjoyed a decent amount of success over their century of existence, but never won a major title … except for an unrecognized national Cup victory in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. Despite 7 decades of fighting for official acknowledgement of their victory, the title remains off the books.

In 1937, the country was in full blown war. The republican states along the Mediterranean had organized a league and a tournament, called the Free Spain Cup. Just four teams participated, and Levante defeated Valencia CF in the final, 1-0.

When Spain fully fell into nationalist hands in April 1939, the governing sports body refused to recognize the legitimacy of the 1937 tournament. For the past 70 years, Levante has been fighting for credit as the champions of Spain, just as Sevilla were recognized for a 1939 cup victory contested only among nationalist lands. But so far their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

It’s still a politically charged topic, and an interesting look back into sports during and after the war.

More Information at ElPais.com (Spanish)

A Great Night at the Mestalla

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February 2, 2010 at 7:06 pm Comments (0)

Valencia Out of the King’s Cup

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After a 1-3 loss to Deportivo La Coruña at the Mestalla, Valencia had a difficult task in front of them on the away leg, and were not able to step up.


Zigic is… big (Pic: EFE)

Things started good last night, with an early 2-0 advantage for the good guys… Monster Serbian Zigic netted both. But in the 2nd half Los Ché were completely listless. It was like a different team playing, and soon enough Depor evened the score and pretty much put it out of reach. Suck.

Oh well… at least VCF is (currently) doing well in the league. Champions League bound!

Flamenco Dinner in Valencia


January 14, 2010 at 11:00 am Comments (0)

U-S-A! All the Way!

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Jozy Alitdore (AP)

Sorry for this bit of non-Valencia related celebration… but WOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

The USA beat Spain 2-0 in the confederations cup semi-final last night, and we’re headed toward our first FIFA Final ever! I still can’t believe it.

Fine, it’s just the Confederations Cup, but what an incredible result. It was the first time in 35 games that mighty Spain was defeated. And I guess you can consider it marginally related to Valencia — David Villa and Juan Mata both were playing and got to taste the power of los EEUU first hand. Haha! That’s for giving us such a stupid abbreviation!


Sorry boys! (As.com)

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June 25, 2009 at 9:45 am Comments (5)

Valencia vs. Sevilla – A Great Night at the Mestalla

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soccer-zoom

A beautiful Sunday afternoon, bright sun and a dramatic sunset on the horizon over the city, a packed and raucous stadium, an important match and thrilling come-from-behind victory for the home team… last Sunday’s match between Valencia and Sevilla at the Mestalla offered everything a soccer fan could want.

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We had been late in deciding on going to the match. And Sevilla being such a popular team, all the tickets sold out early. On Saturday, I had been frustrated in my attempts to purchase tickets at the official outlets, and had pretty much given up on the thought of attending.

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However, about an hour before the game, we happened to be walking close to the Mestalla (location), and I figured I might try my luck at the stadium ticket windows. TIP TIP TIP! Apparently, a large number of seats are held until just before game time, because after waiting in a short line, I scored 4 excellent tickets on the stadium’s north side. Obviously, I can’t guarantee it always works this way, but for anyone who’s desperate for tickets to a sold out game, this is a last-minute opportunity definitely worth a shot. I would ignore the numerous scalpers offering tickets at a slightly inflated price… who can tell if the tickets they have are even legit?

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First goal by David Villa
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Sevilla went up early in the match, but had a player sent off just before half-time. With the extra-man advantage, the second half belonged entirely to Valencia. It took awhile for the equalizer to come (on a penalty kick), and even longer for them to go up (another penalty). Just before the game ended, Valencia sealed the win with a third goal — the packed stadium was going nuts about the hard-fought and decisive 3-1 victory over an excellent Sevillian side.

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I’m not sure how much longer the old Mestalla stadium is going to be in use — construction on the new Mestalla is constantly being delayed. But if you’re a fan of classic city soccer stadiums, don’t wait too long to visit. It’s almost always a great experience… especially if the good guys win.

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April 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm Comments (6)

Sunday Soccer in the Turia

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Soccer-Valencia

Sunday afternoons, the dusty soccer fields near the Torres de Serrano come alive with fast-paced matches between Valencia’s club teams.

There’s a festival atmosphere to the whole thing. Often, up to 4 matches are being played simultaneously, and friends and family dot the sidelines with coolers of beer and food, usually paying more attention to their conversations than to their hardworking husbands or sons out on the field.

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The skill on display is not bad, and I’ve found myself genuinely impressed a number of times. Certainly, these guys play at a higher level than the high school soccer team of my past (no offense, Coach Gaines!)

So if you’re a sports fan, and have been dragged away from the TV by your wife or partner for a Sunday stroll… suggest a walk through the Turia. This time, you win!

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January 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm Comments (3)

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