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Spain - Copa del Rey
Copa del Rey
April 16, 2014
• Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
• Attendance: 55000
Á. di María 11'
G. Bale 85'
Real Madrid continue their pursuit of a treble as they come out 2-1 winners in the Copa del Rey Clasico final against Barcelona at the Mestalla in Valencia. Angel Di Maria opened the scoring in the first half but Marc Bartra equalised in the second period with a towering header. I mentioned that fact that Madrid would be looking to Bale for inspiration in the absence of Ronaldo, and the Welshman has come up trumps to score the winner in the cup final, and what a goal it was. Where next for Tata Martino and Barcelona, that is the question! Madrid complete the first part of their treble pursuit! I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us, see you next time!
FULL TIME! REAL MADRID ARE COPA DEL REY CHAMPIONS!
90' + 1'
Three minutes of added time remaining for Barcelona to save their season. Knocked out of the Champions League, third in La Liga, and now on the verge of losing the Copa del Rey final to their arch rivals.
NEYMARRRR! I CAN'T BELIEVE HE'S MISSED IT!! The Brazilian gets in behind the Madrid defence and absolutely smashes a shot at goal that cannons off the post and incredibly goes straight into the hands of Casillas! Madrid let off the hook massively!
Yellow Card Xabi Alonso
Both managers react quickly to that goal and make a change each. Illarramendi and Alexis Sanchez are introduced in place of Di Maria and Bartra.
Ángel Di María
Assist Fabio Coentrao
Goal Gareth Bale
GOOOOOAAAAALLL!!! GOOOOAAALLL!!! GOOOAAALLL!!!! A LATE GOAL FOR REAL MADRID! Bale receives the ball to feet on the right wing and is initially is impeded by Bartra but then shows a display of absolutely outstanding speed to gallop down the wing and into the box before stabbing past Pinto! Madrid lead the Clasico 2-1!
Adriano decides to test the gloves of Casillas as he spins on the edge of the box and puts the ball on to his right foot before whipping a strike at goal. He's looking for the far corner but it is relatively easy for the Madrid captain.
MADRID HIT THE POST! Modric takes advantage of the space in front of him and glides forward before unleashing a strike at goal. It looks as if it's going in all the way just strays at the last minutes and clips the outside of the woodwork!
Fantastic defending from Mascherano. Madrid initiate yet another counterattack and it is Isco who bursts forward through the middle. He picks out Benzema who strides forward and looks poised to pull the trigger, but the Barca defender makes up the ground superbly to get back and claw the ball away with a slide challenge.
Sergio Ramos offers Dani Alves a hand in getting up but the Brazilian beats away the hand of his former Sevilla team-mate, who proceeds to have a petulant kick out. I hope none of their feelings are hurt too much.
Barcelona have a spring in their step now and definitely have added some tempo to their passing after the equaliser. Their latest promising attack breaks down though as Dani Alves receives the ball on the edge of the box before sending an awful strike high into the crowd behind the goal.
That's a nasty collision between two Real Madrid players as Pepe and Carvajal clash accidentally in the air. There's a couple of sore heads in store for a couple of minutes, but they'll be okay to continue.
What a 20 minutes we are in for now folks! The Madrid fans have been signing for exactly 68 minutes but as soon as that goal went in the tide has turned and they are quieter now. What a turnaround this would be, but we have plenty of time to play!
That was pretty criminal defending from Pepe for that goal. Bartra and Busquets are the only players who pose an aerial threat for Barca, but the Portuguese defender failed to stick with his man!
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR BARCELONA!! LOS CULES EQUALISE!! Xavi swings in a corner kick and Marc Bartra gets up absolutely wonderfully before guiding a sensational header in off the post! One-one in the Clasico! We've got a game on our hands now!
BENZEMA! The Frenchman receives the ball into feet in the left channel and takes an assured touch into the box before lashing a left-footed strike towards the front post, but Pinto manages to get down quickly and turn the attempt behind for a corner kick!
Dani Alves' crossing has just been so, so poor tonight. It must be so frustrating for Martino as his right-back is continually getting into great positions on the right, but every ball into the box is hit with no precision and the Madrid defence are easily cleaning up.
Lovely play from Busquets. The 25-year-old receives a pretty shallow pass out from Pinto but, with two players driving towards him, allows the ball to come across his body which deceives his two opponents. Outstanding composure at the back.
Great save from Pinto! A high cross comes into the box and Benzema rises above everyone to power a header at goal, but the Barca keeper's positioning is spot on and he gets his body behind the attempt to make the comfortable stop.
Tata Martino reacts quickly to that fatigued touch from Fabregas and replaced him with Pedro down the left-hand side, which will see Iniesta move back into central midfield.
Xabi Alonso gives away the ball in an extremely dangerous position 30 yards out from his own goal which allows Messi to intercept and drive forward, but the pace is taken out of the attack as Fabregas takes a heavy touch into the crowd which allows Madrid to clear.
Fabregas retreats into a deep position and clips a ball over the top of the defence for Messi, but Pepe comes in with a commanding header out of the box. The Argentine was offside anyway and Madrid get the free kick.
Barcelona are begging for some pace down the wings in the final third here. Neymar and Fabregas have flattered to deceive again, and the game looks tailor made for Alexis Sanchez and Pedro to come on and make an impact, as they have done so many times this season.
Baaaaaaaallleee! He's getting closer! The Welshman latches on to a poor clearing header from Busquets and cuts across the ball with a terrific half volley, but his attempt just goes inches over the bar! Pinto had it covered, but it was a brilliant attempt none the less!
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
Mascherano is the latest player to go into the book as he cynically upends Pepe as the Portuguese goes on a marauding run down the right-hand side. That's very much a deserved yellow card for the Barca man.
Poor from Messi. His attempt goes high and wide over the bar and doesn't pose a threat to Casillas in the Madrid goal. The Barcelona star has once again been out-of-sorts tonight.
Messi gets completely taken out by Pepe and and Barcelona get the free kick in a decent position 30 yards out. It looks like the Argentine will take...
BAAAAALLLEEEE! How close was that?! Bale skips past one, two, three defenders before bursting into the box and stabbing a shot at goal, but his attempt goes straight into the side-netting! Half the ground thought it was in!
A change to report at half time, and it is a bit of a blow for Barcelona as Alba has been forced off with injury. His place at left-back will be taken by Adriano.
We are back under way in the Clasico!
The ref barely plays any stoppage time and it is half time in this Copa del Rey final. An 11th minute goal from Angel Di Maria is the difference at the moment as Real Madrid lead Barcelona 1-0 in the Clasico. Plenty of possession so far for Tata Martino's men but they are just lacking some guile in the final third. Ancelotti's outfit looking typically incisive and dangerous on the counterattack. Plenty to play for in the second period!
An aspect of the game so far has definitely been Madrid's confidence on the ball. They have surrendered about two-thirds of the possession, but Barcelona's has lacked penetration. Madrid's has been in the final third through counterattacks, which is when they look the most dangerous.
Messiiiii!! We get our first glimpse of the Argentine as a threat to goal as he latches on to a loose ball on the edge of the box, but he just snatches at his shot a little and the attempt goes wide of the right-hand post! Just a little warning for Madrid there!
Barca get a nice little period of possession going in the final third as Fabregas and Alba exchange a few passes. The move surprisingly breaks down when Iniesta receives the ball to feet but fails to take the ball into his stride, allowing Pepe to step in.
An opportunity wasted for Madrid! They counterattack at pace as Benzema drives down the right-hand side, but the Frenchman's pass inside to the unmarked Bale just lacks some pace which allows Bartra to come in and make the important challenge!
What a fantastic challenge from Alba!! Bale finds himself with plenty of space down the left and opens up his stride before taking on Dani Alves. He gets past the defender before reversing a pass back inside for Isco to shoot, but the Barca left-back comes out of nowhere to make a terrific block! That was definitely heading on target!
Pinto just does not inspire confidence at the back at all. Di Maria pumps a ball up the park and the Barca keeper dashes out of his goal to the corner flag to clear as Benzema chased him down. The clearance isn't too convincing, but Barca end up retaining possession.
Messi looks to thread that same pass again down the left for Alba, but receives the ball back to feet facing his own goal. He tees up Iniesta for the shot but the latter ends up attempting a clipped pass over the top of the defence for Dani Alves, but Sergio Ramos is well-placed to head away.
The break continues as Coentrao has suffered an injury after a clash with Messi. It looked pretty innocuous, but Ancelotti has sent Varane to warm up, so it may be a serious one for the Portuguese full back.
There's a small break in play at the moment as Mascherano receives a ticking off from the ref. No clear what the incident is about, but the former Liverpool man plays innocent rather well.
Madrid are pressing magnificently at the moment. Benzema relentlessly presses the back four from Mascherano all the way out to Dani Alves which eventually allows Isco to get in and steal the ball in the final third.
That's poor from Xavi. Neymar opens up his trick book and shows Coentrao a clean pair of heels before finding himself crowded out inside the box. He smuggles the ball out to the Barca captain, but his whipped shot at goal goes five or six yards over.
Messi pops up in his favourite position just in front of the opposition defence and threads a fantastic pass down the left for Alba who darts forward before standing up a cross to the back post. The retreating Neymar looks to divert a header at goal, but it was just behind him and ends up going way wide.
Madrid power forward in what looks like a dangerous counterattack as Di Maria glides through the middle before sending Benzema down the right wing. The Frenchman looks to return the favour to his team-mate, but Mascherano comes in with the interception.
ALBAAAA! Unlucky! Dani Alves gets into an advanced position down the right wing and swings a cross to the back post. Carvajal misjudges the ball which allows Alba to ghost in, but the left-back's header is straight at the grateful Casillas, who makes the save!
Soooo close for Barcelona! Fabregas makes an intelligent run in behind the defence and pops up in the inside left channel inside the box. He teases a brilliant ball across the box but there are no takers! Neymar was closest, but he couldn't make up the ground!
Madrid sweep the play from left to right confidently and Bale eventually skips past a couple of challenges before laying the ball of for Di Maria. The Argentine searches for his second goal but ends up hitting a tame strike down the throat of Pinto.
That's some pass from Sergio Ramos. The Madrid centre back picks up possession at left back and cuts back inside on his right foot before finding Benzema across the park with a pin-point diagonal pass. He's always had that ability in his locker.
Yellow Card Pepe
Yellow Card Neymar
In true Clasico fashion though, Pepe gets involved when he shouldn't and runs straight up to the face of Neymar wanting a fight. The official does well to defuse the situation and awards both players a yellow card. It wouldn't be Barcelona versus Real Madrid without a Pepe booking would it?!
There's another small penalty shout for Barca as Neymar looks to turn Coentrao inside the box but goes down as if he had been pulled back. Again, there's nothing in it and the ref plays on.
Almost wonderful from Iniesta! The World Cup winner breaks away to the back post and majestically cushions the ball into the path of Fabregas, but the former Arsenal man just allows Modric to pip him to it and Madrid manage to clear!
Mascherano collects the ball at centre half and looks to find Neymar with a diagonal pass to the right-hand side, but Coentrao does well to leap into the air and head it into the crowd for a throw in.
A lot of Barcelona fans will be wondering after that goal if Victor Valdes would have saved the strike from Di Maria. It was a decent shot, but PInto took a little too long to get down!
Assist Karim Benzema
Goal Ángel Di María
GOOOOOAAAAAL!!! GOOOOAAAALLL!! GOOOOAAALLL!!! A wonderful counterattack from Real Madrid sees the ball go from Isco, to Bale, to Benzema, then eventually to Di Maria, who bursts forward before squeezing a shot past Pinto into the bottom corner! MADRID LEAD THE CLASICO 1-0!
After a pretty frantic opening to the match Barcelona have just started to enjoy a period of sustained possession which has taken the tempo out of proceedings. Madrid have retreated deep into their own half.
Iniesta receives the ball to feet inside the centre circle and wonderfully tips the ball past Pepe, but then goes down far too easily under the challenge of the Madrid defender. The referee is having none of it, and again waves play on. Another official may have booked the Barca man for diving.
The set-piece comes into the box but is commandingly cleared by Barcelona. The attack isn't over though as Madrid quickly recycle possession and look to probe for the opener again.
Bale, who is looking dangerous, cleverly flicks the ball onto his right foot just inside the box and looks to find the bottom corner, but his attempt cannons off the foot of Mascherano and goes out for a Madrid corner.
Baaaaale! Unlucky! The Welshman stretches his legs down that left wing for the first time in the match and takes a few strides into the box before smashing a shot across goal that goes a couple of yards wide. There was shades of his hat-trick against Inter Milan in the Champions League a few years back with that run! Not the same result though!
A minority of the Barcelona fans get out of their seats demanding a penalty as Alba bursts into the box and goes down under the challenge of Carvajal, but it was a fair tackle from the right-back and the referee rightfully plays on.
Yellow Card Isco
Barcelona manage to slow down the tempo of the match through short, stabbing passes. Neymar eventually gets the ball down the wing and skips past Isco, but the Real Madrid man commits a late foul and gets a very early yellow card. He'll need to watch himself for the rest of the match!
Real Madrid make a typically intense start to the match with plenty of pressing on the ball. Pepe has already left a little on Fabregas in an aerial challenge, which I'm sure we'll see much more of as the game progresses!
THE COPA DEL REY CLASICO IS UNDER WAY!!!
Barca and Madrid make their way onto the pitch and exchange some pleasantries along the way. Don't expect that to last too long!
The last Copa del Rey final between the Clasico sides saw Real Madrid run out 1-0 winners in extra time thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo header. No CR7 tonight though, so who will be the match winner?!
10 minutes to kick off folks! There's nothing quite like the anticipation in the build up to the Clasico, especially when there is a trophy up for grabs!
The last Clasico encounter between Barcelona and Real Madrid certainly didn't disappoint. A fantastic Lionel Messi hat-trick saw Los Cules on their way to a stunning 4-3 victory at Santiago Bernabeu, which will inspire some encouragement heading into the match tonight.
Apart from that it is as you were for Tata Martino as he selects his preferred line-up for big matches. Neymar and Cesc Fabregas get the nod with Andres Iniesta featuring once again on the left wing. Alexis Sanchez and Pedro continue to miss out, but are available from the bench.
A potential defensive crisis for Barcelona looks to have been averted as Marc Bartra has recovered from his hamstring injury to feature at centre back alongside Javier Mascherano. Gerard Pique is still out with a hip problem, and the early return from injury of Carles Puyol has been put on hold due to the 23-year-old defender being passed fit to play.
Even without the Ballon d'Or winner, Madrid still have some tremendous firepower out there, and will definitely be looking to record signing, Gareth Bale, to pick up some of the slack in terms of scoring goals and creating chances.
The aforementioned injury to Ronaldo has meant that Isco has came into the first XI. It's not clear at this point whether it will be the Spaniard or Angel Di Maria who'll feature in midfield, but the latter has been preferred in that position this season, so we'll likely see him providing a lot of energy in central areas.
Some interesting selections from Ancelotti and Martino then...
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Xabi Alonso, Modric, Di Maria; Isco, Bale; Benzema.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Alves, Mascherano, Bartra, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Neymar, Messi, Fabregas.
And with that, here comes the team news...
The biggest news coming into the match tonight is the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who misses out due to a hamstring injury. It'll certainly be odd seeing these two sides locking horns without the Portuguese centre stage!
It was a little too close for comfort last week for Real Madrid as they successfully progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League with an aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund, despite losing the second leg 2-0 to the German side. They managed to bounce back from the loss with a comfortable 4-0 La Liga win over Almeria, in which Gareth Bale, Angel Di Maria, Alvaro Morata and Isco all got on the scoresheet.
The Catalan side certainly enter the match tonight out of form after coming off the back of two extremely demoralising defeats against Atletico Madrid and Granada, which have took the Champions League out of their grasp and saw them lose ground in the domestic title race. However, Los Cules have typically raised their game in Clasico matches in recent years, so let's see if they can do the same tonight against their arch rivals.
Carlo Ancelotti's outfit hope to add the first trophy of a potential treble tonight, whereas Tata Martino is trying to gain at least some success in his debut season as Barcelona manager by winning the Copa del Rey, which presents his side's best opportunity for success this season.
This...is the Clasico!
Both teams enter the match tonight with contrasting ambitions for the season as a whole. Barcelona currently sit third place in La Liga and were knocked out of the Champions League last week by domestic rivals, Atletico. Real Madrid, on the other hand, are second in the league and are still hunting for an impressive treble.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action!
Good evening football fans! Welcome to LIVE coverage of the Copa del Rey final clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid from the Mestalla!
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