Mourinho’s debut final for Madrid ends in spectacular fashion as the capital city side require extra-time to lift the Copa del Rey
Real Madrid was crowned Copa del Rey champions for the 18th time after defeating Barcelona 1-0 in extra-time at the Mestalla on Wednesday evening.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s tremendous header in the first period of extra-time proved enough to separate the two sides after some valiant defending late on from Jose Mourinho's men.
The opening 10 minutes were fragmented as the players clashed bringing stoppages to the game, with the league leaders keeping the ball as usual but it was Madrid who had the first sight of goal.
Mesut Ozil chipped into the path of Ronaldo but the Portuguese’s touch made the angle too acute for a shot on target and his effort was heading wide before Mascherano hacked it straight back to Madrid.
Ozil worked space for a cross and it was nearly met by his international teammate Sami Khedira but the German’s flicked header could only take the ball away from target.
Fouls continued to come in fast and furious in the opening exchanges and referee Alberto Undiano was forced to intervene to control a melee between the two sides.
Pepe picked up the first yellow card of the game for persistant fouling as his tug on Pedro's shirt wore out the patience of Undiano.
Ronaldo found some space forcing Jose Pinto into a smart save. The Blancos broke away resulting in 'CR7' striking low from an acute angle but the Barca ‘keeper was able to palm it away.
Pepe then raced in on Sergio Busquets, who had reclaimed the loose ball, and slid into the Blaugrana midfielder only for Undiano's to refuse Barcelona’s request of a second yellow card to be shown to the Portuguese enforcer.
Real Madrid created the best chance of the match just before the break when Ozil swung in a beautiful cross that Pepe met only to watch his header rebound off the inside of the upright and away to safety.
The second half brought about an early penalty appeal for the Catalan side when Andres Iniesta tumbled into the area but Undiano signalled for the Spanish maestro to get back to his feet.
Barcelona began to get into their rhythm with Lionel Messi and Dani Alves combining on the edge of the Real Madrid penalty area only for the Argentina international to be crowded out at the last moment.
Barcelona players thought they’d taken the lead in the 69th minute when Messi kept his balance to play in Pedro whose first time shot nestled in the back of the net only for the No. 17 to notice the offside flag on the touchline mid-celebration.
Messi then brought a fine save from Iker Casillas, who had to fling himself low to his right to palm the ball away.
Pedro became the latest player to test los Blancos’ keeper when his deft chip seemed to be creeping in at the far post only for Casillas to claw the ball away.
Barca was beginning to hit their stride and had Madrid on the back foot. Iniesta was the man on the end of the move and worked room to shoot inside the area but Casillas was equal to it again. The Spanish No. 1 made a stunning fingertip save to push his international teammate’s effort around the far post.
Madrid came close late on to supply the winner, through Ronaldo and then Di Maria. The Portugal international had a brilliant chance after Emmanuel Adebayor’s through ball but he took too long to shoot allowing Dani Alves to recover and block the shot.
Di Maria then let fly from 20 yards only for Pinto to make a wonderful diving save to ensure the tie required a further 30 minutes before a winner was decided.
Extra time began in typically cagey fashion as neither side mustered a clear cut chance until the 97th minute when Madrid countered at pace. Alonso pierced the Barca defence with a beautiful pass which 'CR7' latched onto only for the striker to drag his shot wide of the far post.
Ronaldo then made amends for his previous misses with a bullet header from Di Maria’s cross. The Argentine played a wonderful one-two with Marcelo before hitting a first time cross to Ronaldo who headed the ball back across Pinto, leaving the 'keeper helpless.
Pep Guardiola opted to introduce Seydou Keita and Ibrahim Afellay in search of a dramatic equalizer with the latter replacing Villa, whose goalless run stretched to 11 games, but neither could make the impact the Barca coach needed.
Madrid had a chance to settle the game two minutes from the final whistle when Adebayor brought a great save from Pinto.
The drama continued late on when Di Maria was sent off late on for a second bookable offense gifting Barcelona one last chance to take the game into penalties but Madrid cleared to the sound of the final whistle.
Jose Mourinho’s first trophy for Real Madrid will be welcome boost ahead of their Champions League semifinal tie against the Catalan giants.