Mestalla turned 99 on Friday on Friday. In its long life, beyond 2005 official Valencia matches, Cup finals, a World Cup and an Olympic Games, Mestalla was a parking lot for tanks during the Civil War, it was destroyed during the 1957 flood and it was the first stadium in Spain where it was played on goal due to the pandemic. However, he had never seen anything like what happened this Saturday, May 21, 2022, curiously, on Peter Lim’s birthday, whom the Valencia fans do not love and asked him to leave again. He did it with an impressive and historic mobilization, because there were more people outside protesting than inside the stadium watching Valencia’s match against Celta de Vigo.
Inside an inconsequential game was played, outside a final was played for the dignity of a centennial club. Those on the lawn listened to those on the street. Mestalla seemed to have returned to the times of the pandemic, while on Avenida Sweden the atmosphere of the celebrations was breathed. Valencia is against Peter Lim as Malaga was against Al-Thani or Newcastle against Mike Ashley. In truth, the protests have been repeated for months, because the complaints are due to a serious structural crisis of the club and not a circumstantial thing of a bad season for the team. But this Saturday’s image may be the most shocking of all, because if something is sacred for a fan like Valencia’s, it is being tough and mature with their players, but this time thousands understood that the best way to defend their shield was to stay out.
The celebration for Maxi Gómez’s goals and Araujo’s own goal were louder on the street than in the stands. Simply because they were more. So Valencia won their game and their fans, theirs. Celta was a spectator of the Valencianists’ complaints and a secondary actor on the pitch. The best thing about the Vigo team was Iago Aspas’s gesture with Nolito, to whom he gave up the captain’s armband in his last game as a sky blue. The meeting was precisely that, a meeting for farewells. Some safe, like the one from Cadiz, Denis Suárez, Ilaix, Bryan Gil or Cheryshev. Other presumable ones such as Carlos Soler, Guedes and soon we will know if Gayà. And only Peter Lim knows if he also ends up being the last of Anil Murthy as president, who entered the stadium early in the morning and would leave at dawn.
Valencia achieved its sixth victory in the League at the Mestalla because its proposal was more incisive than that of many other home afternoons of the season. Bordalás’ team thus avoided equaling Valencia’s second worst season at home and incidentally, pending what Osasuna does, placing ninth in the standings. The goal that opened the scoring serves as an example of that spirit with which Valencia came out to play, because it broke two Celta lines with a good pass from Carlos Soler to Gayà’s run, but when the side crossed there were two footballers stepping on the Dituro area, when the trend of the season was one and thanks: Marcos André who attended and Maxi Gómez who scored.
Celta’s only incentive was to know if Iago Aspas was left alone as the national top scorer (he will share the award with Raúl De Tomás with 17 goals), but the one from Moaña was left with the same goals as Raúl De Tomás because he was more determined to look for Nolito so that he could say goodbye with a goal (Jaume prevented him with a save) than in finishing off himself.
The game, the inside one, was finished shortly after the start of the second half, when Araujo inadvertently sent a cross from Maxi Gómez to the back of his net. From then on, Valencia officially began their vacation and Celta tried to score at least one goal without success. But that, like the match itself, was the least important of the much relevant that happened in Mestalla, where the important thing is to know if the match played and won by the Valencia fans will have the desired consequences for the thousands who protested and for so many others who were not.
Cheryshev (45′, Bryan Gil Salvatierra), Gabriel Vega (51′, Augusto Solari), Mario Dominguez (67′, Thierry Correia), Goncalo Guedes (67′, Marcos Andre), Orbelin Pineda (69′, Kevin Vazquez), Murillo (69′, Nolito), yunus musah (77′, Maxi Gomez), Aurochs Racic (83′, Mouctar Diakhaby), Jose Fontan (84′, Brais)
1-0, 27′: Maxi Gomez2-0, 59′: Nestor Araujo
Referee: Adrian Cordero Vega
VAR Referee: David Medié Jiménez
Javier Galan (45′, Yellow) Brais (51′, Yellow) Foulquier (62′, Yellow) Thierry Correa (63′, Yellow) Thiago Galhardo (79′, Yellow) Moriba Kourouma (94′, Yellow