Gareth Bale is the man of the hour. His brilliant solo goal late in the game sealed the Copa del Rey finals win for Real Madrid and he will be receiving his first silverware because of this feat. The finals was a very exciting game, for arch rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid were contesting which team would be the 2014 Copa del Rey champion. The final score? Real Madrid 2, Barcelona 1.
World’s most expensive football player
The Real Madrid win almost obscured the fact that it reportedly cost Real Madrid about $134 million (£85.3m) to bring the former Hotspur player to Spain. Now his solo effort that caused Real Madrid to hold aloft the Copa del Rey once again is considered priceless. It is the 19th Copa del Rey win for Real Madrid, but the first one under Carlo Ancelotti, their new Italian coach. Gareth Bale’s goal in the finals is his 20th after 39 appearances for Real Madrid.
Dismal start for Barca
Barcelona also spent large sums of money to get international players into their camp. But their recent signing did not fire up. For the first time since the beginning of 2003, Barca had three successive defeats – they were defeated by Atletico Madrid at the Champions League; lost in La Liga last Sunday and on Wednesday, they lost in the Copa del Rey.
Tense contest, as expected
With the long-standing arch rivals playing the finals, the atmosphere at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia was definitely tense. On Real Madrid’s side, fans were missing the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who, last month, tore his anterior cruciate ligament. All the Real players on the field were very lively, attacking with a frenzy during the first half, sending in the first goal after just 11 minutes of play. Bale had a hand on the first goal, after he set up Angel di Maria, who fired a low shot in the corner.
The second half was as tense as the first, but Barca was seen as struggling. Lionel Messi’s usual brilliance in the field was not evident. Barcelona’s young defender, Marc Bartra, had other ideas and sent a header into the net to even out the score on the 68th minute. About midway into the second half, the finals was almost a done deal but the header from Bale was dismissed. However, on the 85th minute, with the game almost going on overtime, Bale, pursued by Bartra, saw another opportunity to score.
With a surge of speed, Bale went past Bartra and kept his cool under the pressure of the advancing Barca goalkeeper, Pinto and the pursuing Bartra. He then just gave the ball a good poke to make the score.
Barcelona had another chance to level the score on the 90th minute but Neymar squandered it, sending the ball into the post.
Real Madrid will be facing Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the Champions League. They are also just three points behind La Liga leader Atletico Madrid.
Photo credit: Taken by Pablo Morquecho under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.