Valencia’s rivalry with Levante may be a relatively modern one, but it grows stronger with each passing year. Take a look at five interesting aspects of this fixture and why this derby is so unique.
1. Levante are actually older than their more famed rivals
Although Valencia use the name of the city, Levante are actually the older institution. They were founded in their original form in 1909, 10 years before Valencia came to into being. Both clubs are among the oldest in Spain and are already well into their second century of life.
2. Fittingly, Levante were the first guests at the Mestalla
Valencia’s home ground, Mestalla, is the oldest stadium among all the current top-flight clubs in Spain, opened on May 20th, 1923. The rivals that day? City rivals Levante. Valencia won 1-0, setting the tone for the future dynamic of this derby.
3. Their first LaLiga meeting was relatively recent
Although both clubs were formed within the first 20 years of the 20th century and played a friendly to christen the Mestalla, they didn’t actually meet in official LaLiga competition until the 1963/64 season. That season was Levante first in the top division after decades of existence in the lower leagues. Although they lost this first league meeting with Valencia at Mestalla by a 5-3 score line, they won the return game at their own ground 1-0 to settle the scores.
4. Mista and the phantom goal
The 2004/05 season derby conjured up controversy for the ages. Valencia won the match 2-1, but their second goal never actually crossed the line. Striker Miguel Angel Ferrer Martinez, better known as Mista, struck a powerful shot against the crossbar; the ball bounced on the goal line and away. The referee awarded the goal and Valencia went on to win the game in controversial fashion.
5. Levante have never finished above Valencia in the table
Levante may have enjoyed several derby day victories, but they’ve never won the derby in the sense of finishing higher up in the table. Not once have the Granotas finished above Valencia in the final standings of LaLiga Santander. The closest they’ve been to their neighbours in the final table was in 2013/14, when Valencia were eighth and Levante 10th.