UEFA Cup 2003/04

The victory in the Intertoto Cup Final against Heerenveen, from the Netherlands, meant Villarreal CF would make their debut in the UEFA Cup for the 2003/04 season. And it was a historical performance at that, as the Yellows got to the Semi-finals of Europe’s second biggest contest.

The Submarine played their first match against Trabzonspor. Villarreal could not give their fans a historic victory in their debut UEFA Cup match as they drew 0-0 in the first leg, leaving the tie wide open. Finally, the Yellows qualified for the UEFA Cup’s second round after defeating Trabzonspor 2-3 in ‘Turkish hell’, silencing any doubts after the first leg’s goalless draw. Anderson and José Mari, who scored two, were the goal scorers for the Yellows.

Villarreal CF then had to get through four more knockout rounds to reach the Semi-finals. A historical performance by the Submarine, who reached the Semi-finals of a European competition for the first time in club history. The Yellows surpassed FC Torpedo Moscow in the second round (2-0 and 0-1), Galatasaray in the third round (2-2 and 3-0), Rome in the fourth round (2-0 and 1-2) and Celtic in the Quarter-finals (1-1 and 2-0), in a match where bonds were established between both teams’ supporters.

In the Semi-finals, the opponent standing in Villarreal’s way was Valencia CF. The knockout tie saw the two teams from the the Valencian region (Comunidad Valenciana) go head to head, but victory went to the ‘che’ team with a goal in the second leg by Mista, from the penalty spot. It was the only goal of the game over the 180 minutes, but meant the Yellows would leave the tournament without playing in the first Final in club history.