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Real Madrid beat Barcelona to win Copa del Rey, as Bale’s brilliance seals it

Apr 16, 2014, 5:40 PM EST

Gareth Bale AP

Real Madrid beat arch rivals Barcelona 2-1 in the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday, as Carlo Ancelotti won his first trophy as Real manager.

Gareth Bale was the hero as his stunning solo goal five minutes from time gave Madrid the win. Barca have now suffered three defeats in a row as Gerardo Martino’s team are stuck in a rut.

Barcelona trailed for most of the game, as Angel Di Maria’s 11th minute strike put Real 1-0 up in the latest installment of El Clasico. However Marc Bartra’s header made it 1-1 with 20 minutes to go before Bale’s moment of brilliance handed his side the silverware. Real have now won the Copa del Rey 19 times.

Predictably the game started at a frantic pace as Isco was booked within three minutes for a nasty challenge on Barcelona winger Neymar. The first real chance of the match arrived within five minutes, as Gareth Bale was set free down the left and drilled a powerful shot across goal that just missed the far post. The Welshman had a right-footed effort deflected wide moment later, as Real started the game superbly.

They were rewarded for that great start after 10 minutes, when a flowing counter-attack saw Bale play the ball to Karim Benzema who clipped a pass to set Di Maria free and the Argentine attacker finished with a low shot that squirmed over the line to put the capital club ahead.

Barcelona gradually came back into the game as the first half wore on, with Cesc Fabregas whipping the ball across goal but none of his teammates could get on the end of it. The game continued to ebb and flow but Real almost had a second just before half time as Bale played in Isco on the edge of the box but Sergio Busquets came from nowhere to make a last-ditch block to stop the shot.

source: AP

Bale was a constant thorn in Barca’s side, as the Welshman tore their makeshift defense apart.

After the break Real continued to dominate as Bale surged forward but smashed his right-footed shot into the side netting and the Welsh international also had a goal chalked out as Real piled on the pressure.

Just when you thought Barcelona were running out of ideas, young central defender Bartra headed home superbly after Pepe let him slip free. Bartra was only in the team because Barca’s usual center half pairing of Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique were injured and the 23-year-old certainly came up big when it mattered most.

With that goal came a seismic shift as Barcelona piled on the pressure but Real hit back late on to retake the lead with a stunning solo goal. That man Bale came up with a sensational piece of athleticism in the 85th minute, as he sped past Bartra on the halfway line and even though he was being fouled his speed took him clear of Barca’s defense before he toe-poked the ball into the net and wheeled away in jubilation.

Late on Barca had a superb chance to level things after Xavi played in Neymar but the Brazilian winger smashed his effort off the post as Real clinched the first trophy of the Spanish season.

LINEUPS

Barcelona: Pinto, Alves, Mascherano, Bartra (Sanchez, 88′), Alba (Adriano, 46′), Sergio, Xavi, Iniesta, Neymar, Messi, Fàbregas (Pedro, 61′)

Goal: Bartra (68′)

Real Madrid: Casillas, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão, Benzema (Verane, 90′), Bale, Xabi Alonso, Carvajal, Modric, Di María (Illarremendi, 88′), Isco

Goals: Di Maria (10′), Bale (85′)

  1. seanb20124 - Apr 16, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    Bale’s speed on that play was amazing

  2. forteetooo - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    The defender thought he wouldn’t keep going… Big mistake. Hala Madrid!!!

    • joelbarca - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      It was bad defending, you don’t randomly run up to a player of his caliber and push him out of bounds, he is going to beat you in a foot race! he should have kept his space infront of him and wait for him to come up to him and play defense on him face to face! i play soccer for north carolinas state teamand im only 17, and i play defense, im very good at it. ive learned strategys and tricks to play solid defense on any player, but if he is faster than me, i know i wont beat him in a footrace, i have to wait for him to get up to me and then i square up to him, always keeping in mind that he could go through my legs, but when you square up, you have a good chance at keeping up with him if he goes left or right, but barcas defense was HORRIBLE

      • kirielson - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        Wow for a 17 year old that’s really articulate and well said.

      • midtec2005 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        You’re right, but defending Bale 1v1 when he has that look in his eye is pretty much impossible. So he was probably screwed anyway.

      • joelbarca - Apr 17, 2014 at 6:37 PM

        midtec2005, yeah but he would have had a fighting chance!

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