Arsenal ended its nine-year trophy drought on Saturday, coming from two goals...
Bale winner gives Real Madrid Copa del Rey
Gareth Bale continued his superb debut season for Real Madrid when he scored a brilliant individual goal to help Real win the Copa del Rey with victory over bitter rivals Barcelona at the Mestalla in Valencia.
With no Cristiano Ronaldo much of the onus fell on the record signing Bale to deliver on the biggest stage and the Welshman didn’t disappoint as his pace and power proved a constant threat to the Catalan defence in the first half.
Angelo Di Maria opened the scoring for Real in the 11th minute with a free flowing counterattacking move involving Isco, Bale and Benzema which set Di Maria through who fired a left foot shot across the goal, Barcelona keeper Pinto getting a hand on the ball but not enough to prevent it finding the back of the neck.
Barcelona pressed for the equaliser however none of their efforts found the target to leave Real 1-0 at the half.
The early second half exchanges were all about Real as Bale twice went close and on a third occasion had the ball in the back of the net only to be ruled out for an earlier infringement.
Marc Bartra finally leveled matters in the 68th for the Catalan giants when nodded home a perfectly weighted Xavi corner.
With the match in deadlock and heading towards extra time it was Madrid’s record signing that settled matters as he outstripped Bartra for pace and toed his final touch into the back of the net in what was a brilliant piece of individual skill.
It was the Welshman’s 20th goal of the season and without question his most important. Madrid fans have been split on their opinion of Bale, not because of his skill but the price tag that came attached. Last nights effort would have finally won them over in what has been a superb first season if you consider the pressure that would have come attached.
For Ancelotti’s team it was a 19th Copa del Rey title and they remain on course for the treble while Barcelona suffered their third consecutive loss for the first time in 10 years and could very well end the year without a trophy.