Valencia had been on a 14-match unbeaten run previous to this match, which had only ended the previous week to Villarreal, the side they beat in the semi-final to reach the final, due to a weakened lineup after securing the La Ligatitle. Marseille had lost four of their last five matches in Ligue 1.
The start of the match was conservative due to the wind. Didier Drogba threatened early on, and was sent tumbling by a robust challenge from Roberto Ayala, which led to a free kick, in which the resulting shot was cleared off the line by Carlos Marchena. This sparked Valencia into life and David Albelda produced a brilliant save from Fabien Barthez after pouncing on Mista's rebounded shot.
Valencia had Marseille running round in circles, and this led to frustration, which saw Steve Marlet get booked in the 10th minute. Marseille's first meaningful attempt at goal came in the 16th minute when Steve Marlet headed over from Camel Meriem's cross. Minutes later, Meriem himself had a chance to give Marseille the lead, but he shot wide from the edge of the area. Marseille had another chance when Habib Beye got on the end of Drogba's free kick, but he headed wide. The definitive moment in the match came on the stroke of half time, when Barthez brought down Mista in the area after a great cross by Curro Torres. Barthez was sent off and Valencia were awarded a penalty. Jérémy Gavanon replaced Barthez with Camel Meriem making way for him. Vicente dispatched the penalty to give Valencia a 1–0 lead going into half time.
The second half started off with Valencia in total ascendancy, and after 13 minutes of near total possession, Valencia doubled their lead. Vicente had cut the ball in from the left for Mista, who finished the chance with ease to record his fifth goal of the competition. Marseille's heads inevitably dropped. They came forward in flourishes in the last remnants of the game, however, when Drogba's free kick was stopped by Santiago Cañizares. Drogba also nearly played in Steve Marlet with a through-ball, but it was intercepted at the last second. Marseille almost found a way back into the Valencia goal area in the 80th minute, but Sylvain N'Diaye's shot was saved by Cañizares.
After this, the match descended into a stoic affair and Valencia ran out winners to win their first major European trophy in 24 years, and victory after two successive UEFA Champions League final defeats, in 2000 and 2001. The victory also meant that Amedeo Carboni became the oldest player to win a European final at 39 years and 43 days old.