Valencia offer fans free entry for Europa second leg

MADRID (Reuters) -- Valencia will give season-ticket holders free entry to ensure they have a full stadium when they seek to overturn a 4-2 deficit in their Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid next week.

"It is an absolute necessity that there is an extraordinary atmosphere at the Mestalla that helps push the side towards the achievable aim of a place in the final in Bucharest," the 2004 UEFA Cup winners said in a statement on Friday.

Radamel Falcao scored twice as Atletico stormed into a 4-1 lead on Thursday but an added-time goal from Ricardo Costa has left Valencia with hopes they can go through to face either Portugal's Sporting or Athletic Bilbao in the May 9 final.

Valencia fans, who will be reimbursed if they have already purchased a ticket, have whistled their team and under-fire coach Unai Emery after some inconsistent results in recent weeks.

The Europa League has been much-maligned by soccer fans as a poor cousin to the more lucrative and prestigious Champions League.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.