Real Madrid defeated arch rivals Barcelona 1-2 to secure a first Copa del Rey victory since 2011 thanks to Angel Di Maria and Gareth Bale scoring either side of a Marc Bartra header as Lionel Messi’s goal drought continues.
Real Madrid opened the scoring after just ten minutes when one of their stand out performers of the season Angel Di Maria fired past Pinto for the first goal of the game.
It came after a neat passing move from Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Isco started the build up by picking out Gareth Bale situated on the halfway line, he switched the ball over to the left to Karim Benzema who in-turn set Di Maria free and he had the relatively easy task of brushing away the Barcelona back-line before scoring. Pinto perhaps should have done better with the shot after he got a hand to it.
Bale scored a sensational winner when he used his strength and speed to power past Bartra and then nutmeg Pinto to restore Madrid’s lead. Bale’s was the best player on the pitch and deserved his goal, fitting it was the winner too. Filling the gap left by Ronaldo’s absence perfectly.
Barca almost forced the final into extra time late on but Neymar’s shot came back off the post to save Madrid’s skin.
Barcelona levelled the scoring when Lionel Messi’s corner was headed in by young defender Marc Barta after some poor marking from Pepe allowed the Spaniard to have a free header. Iker Casillas was well beaten.
Gareth Bale was the man where much of the Real Madrid attention was based around due to Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo out of the final with a hamstring injury and it was the Welshman who started the game the brightest.
In what was a cagey first half with the two Spanish giants having just three shots on target between them, Bale was the catalyst in Madrid having the brighter opening period. The former Tottenham man had two decent chances before Di Maria scored, first Bale shot wide from a tight angle five minutes in, and then Javier Mascherano blocked one of his efforts wide a minute later.
Barcelona’s best chance of the half came when Lionel Messi shot wide just before the break.
Bale started the second 45 just as he started the first, two minutes after the interval he struck wide of Pinto’s post from outside the area.
Madrid had the better of the early stages in the second period. Bale, Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema all having half chances as the Galacticos pushed for the killer second goal with Barcelona looking lacklustre and not looking like the dangerous attacking side that they were under Pep Guardiola and Tito Villanova.
The Catalans did make Madrid’s cup competition goalkeeper Iker Casillas work slightly when an ambitions strike by Mark Bartra was palmed out unconvincingly for a corner.
Real had a goal disallowed soon after when Bale headed into an ungaurded net after challenging Pinto unfairly when the ball was in the air. The corner being a result of a good Pinto save as Benzema tried to beat the Spanish stopper at his near post.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men left the Mestalla as Copa del Rey Champions and will now swap their attentions to the Champions League and La Liga as they seek to complete a famous treble.