Cristiano”s late goal gives Copa del Rey to Madrid

Published: 22/04/2011 05:00



A Cristiano Ronaldo’s
header 12 minutes into extra time gave Real Madrid a 1-0 win over FC Barcelona
in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo(C)
heads the ball during the King’s Cup final soccer match against Barcelona at
Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain, April 20, 2011. Real Madrid claimed the
champion by defeating Barcelona 1-0. (Xinhua/Chen Haitong)

The Portuguese star
produced a powerful header to give Barca keeper Jose Pinto no chance and hand
Madrid their first trophy for three years and their first Cup since 1993.

It was the decisive moment
in an enthralling and tense game of football between the two biggest sides in

There were no surprises in
either starting 11 with Javier Mascherano playing in central defense for Barca
and Pepe continuing in midfield for a Real Madrid side that maintained its
tactics from Saturday’s 1-1 draw in the Santiago Bernabeu.

That meant Madrid worked
hard to close Barca down in the middle of the park and deny space to Xavi
Hernandez and Andres Iniesta. It worked well as Barcelona struggled to create in
midfield and Madrid created the chances.

Ronaldo sent a chance wide
and Mesut Ozil fired a shot wide after a corner had been half cleared.

Barcelona were enjoying 75
percent of the ball, but failing to penetrate a packed Madrid midfield, although
Pepe was booked after 25 minutes for a foul on Leo Messi, a minute before Alvaro
Arbeloa appeared to stamp on David Villa to spark tense scenes between both sets
of players.

Ronaldo saw another chance
saved by Jose Pinto on the half hour, before Pepe almost gave his side the lead
before the break. The Portuguese international saw his thumping header bounce
off the inside of the post after a cross from Angel de Maria.

Barcelona kicked the
second half off with Pedro Rodriguez and Messi swapping wings and there was an
immediate effect as Barca looked more dangerous and Pedro and Villa both fired

Madrid were visibly tiring
and content to merely hit the ball out of defense as Barcelona began to threaten
more and more. Pedro had the ball in the back of the net after 68 minutes, but
the goal was ruled out for a narrow, but correct offside decision.

If the first half had
belonged to Real Madrid, the second was all Barca’s and Mourinho brought on
striker Emmanuel Adebayor for Ozil.

Casillas saved from Messi
and then Pedro as Barca tightened their grip and Messi began to show his class
and with 10 minutes Casillas produced another fingertip save to deny Iniesta,
who took a pass from the Argentinean.

Madrid had one chance in
the last minute of normal time, but Pinto tipped De Maria’s shot inches over the
bar to send the game into extra time.

The extra 30 minutes
continued the script from the second half with Barca probing for an opening and
Madrid aiming to find Ronaldo, who fired just wide after 98 minutes. He made no
mistake three minutes later, however, to power home a De Maria cross from the

With 15 minutes to save
the game Barcelona brought on Ibrahima Affelay for David Villa, but Madrid held
on to take the prize.


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