Gary Lim: Victory over Real Madrid heralds a new era for Valencia
(Antonio Barragan 52, Nicolas Otamendi 65)
REAL MADRID 1
(Cristiano Ronaldo 14-pen)
The pessimism at Valencia has disappeared, replaced by a positivity not seen for at least a decade.
Yesterday morning (Singapore time), the 92-year-old Mestalla exploded into a collage of uninhibited joy.
With a stellar performance of silk and steel, Valencia took down La Liga league leaders Real Madrid 2-1, snapping the 10-time European champions' remarkable 22-match winning streak in the process.
Among the 55,000 spectators who witnessed the joyous scenes was new club owner Peter Lim, present at the ground with his family and friends.
How their fortunes have changed since the Singaporean businessman took over the La Liga club to save them from bankruptcy.
The fact was not lost on Valencia skipper Dani Parejo.
In an exclusive interview with The New Paper, he said after the match: "As the team's captain, I am proud of how Valencia turned into a great club in a matter of months, thanks to Peter Lim.
"We are growing day by day and the game against Real Madrid has proven that we have a promising future ahead of us."
The prospect looks tantalising indeed.
Lim's 420-million-euro ($671m) takeover, which was confirmed last October, had relieved Valencia of their massive debts and given the club much-needed stability to plot their way back to the top of Spanish football.
For sure, there is now money to back the ambition.
In came the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Rodrigo Moreno, Nicolas Otamendi, Alvaro Negredo and Andre Gomes at the start of the season.
Latest signing Enzo Perez, who reportedly snubbed Manchester United to join Valencia for a fee of 25m euros about a week ago, was unleashed in midfield against Real yesterday morning.
More targets, such as Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan, have been lined up.
The new-found optimism showed on the field against the Galacticos.
GUTS AND RESILIENCE
The Los Che got into the face of Los Blancos. Nuno Espirito Santo's men showed guts and invention to take apart arguably the world's best team.
They also showed resilience by coming back from a goal down.
Nuno hailed the result, but thinks there's more to come from his young side.
He said: "This victory deserves a lot of credit, as does the fact that we came back from behind.
"However, I still believe that our biggest success is yet to come. It was a great win, but we still only have 34 points."
Champions League football next season is what the six-time La Liga champions are after and, with yesterday morning's victory, they moved back into the top four of the La Liga table on 34 points, five behind Real who have played one game less.
Valencia have a solid home record to build their foundation on - the only time they had lost at the Mestalla this season was against Barcelona last November, and that too, to a last-gasp goal.
The squad may be bolstered by more quality additions this month.
When The New Paper spoke to fans in Valencia last August, they saw Lim as their saviour.
Yesterday morning was without doubt his finest moment in his short reign.
The victory over mighty Real was more significant than the three precious points won.
Something special is brewing in Valencia and it is down to one Singaporean - Peter Lim.