Madrid beats Barca 1-0 after extra time to win cup

Cristiano Ronaldo headed home the winner in extra-time as Real

Madrid ended an 18-year Copa del Rey trophy drought with a 1-0

victory over biggest rival Barcelona on Wednesday.

Ronaldo guided Angel Di Maria’s 103rd-minute cross back across

goal and past the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto

into the top corner as Madrid won silverware for the first time

since a 2008 Spanish league title.

”It was a very tough game, Barcelona played very well, but, as

you know, whoever scores, wins,” said Ronaldo, who won his first

title since joining Madrid last season. ”We are very happy, Madrid

had not won this cup for many years.”

Madrid dominated the first half and then relied on goalkeeper

Iker Casillas’ second-half stops as Barcelona took control after

the restart in an electric atmosphere at the Mestalla Stadium.

Madrid’s Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho bowed before King Juan

Carlos and Queen Sofia as he received his mini-trophy while

Casillas hugged the pair before using the king as support to climb

up on a support and hoist the club’s 18th domestic cup win

high.

”A great game of football,” Mourinho said after bringing

silverware to the club in his first season to end a six-game

winless run against Barcelona, which lost for only the 10th time in

its 35th final appearance. ”The title isn’t mine, it’s everyone’s.

After so long without the Copa del Rey, it’s something nice.”

Barcelona failed with a trophy on the line for the first time

under coach Pep Guardiola.

”It’s always better to win than lose but we have to recover

because that’s life. Life has its knocks too,” Guardiola said.

”Will we pick ourselves up from this? Of course.”

Barcelona, which closed in on the league title with a 1-1 draw

against Madrid on Saturday, gets its first chance next Wednesday

when the pair meet for the first of a two-legged Champions League

semifinal.

The winning goal came from an incisive attack by Madrid.

Fullback Marcelo played Di Maria into the left side of the area and

the Argentina forward beat Daniel Alves to the perfectly-weighted

ball to find Ronaldo at the far post for the winner at the site of

both clubs’ last cup win – Madrid over Zaragoza and Barcelona over

Athletic Bilbao in 2009.

Madrid’s players were heading back to the Spanish capital to

celebrate at the Plaza de Cibeles, its traditional spot, although a

late night was not expected.

”We’re not going to celebrate so much – we’re all dead tired,”

defender Alvaro Arbeloa said.

The charged atmosphere for the ninth cup final at the Mestalla

might have played a hand in a frantic and physical first half

dominated by Madrid, which disrupted Barcelona’s cool with constant

pressure. The Catalans didn’t manage a single shot on goal until

the second half as it abandoned its slick passing game for long

balls at times.

With Javier Mascherano filling in for Carles Puyol at

centerback, Barcelona’s defense looked unsure as Madrid repeatedly

won back possession with constant upfield pressure.

And Madrid created chances on the break as expected with Mesut

Oezil picking up where he left off in Saturday’s 1-1 draw by

creating Madrid’s best opportunities including in the 36th when he

set up Ronaldo for a shot Pinto saved.

”They played similar (to Saturday’s game)- they changed players

but the concept was pretty much the same as the Bernabeu,”

Guardiola said. ”With such great teams it’s the details that make

the difference.”

The bruising matchup led to a number of run-ins between players

who normally represent Spain together, with David Villa and Alvaro

Arbeloa exchanging shoves, while even a frustrated Lionel Messi had

trouble hiding his emotions as the acrimonious rivalry bubbled up

with silverware on the line. Barcelona had won three of the five

previous cup finals between the two before this one, including the

last one in 1990.

Barcelona – which watched Pepe’s header come off the post just

before the break – was more composed after the restart as it worked

the ball and rediscovered the possession game that helps them

thrive, with Villa threatening.

Mourinho, meanwhile, screamed at Ronaldo for skirting his

defensive duties while Messi was booked for blocking a free kick in

the 64th as the teams’ two stars – who have now combined for 90

goals this season – found it hard to show off their offensive

talents.

”We wanted him to participate in areas where we want him to be

involved,” Guardiola said of Messi after he was again stymied by a

Mourinho gameplan. ”He’s so important for us.”

The Barcelona half of the stadium exploded in the 69th but

Pedro’s goal was chalked off for offside before Casillas

shined.

The Spain ‘keeper dived to keep out Messi’s low screamer and

then swatted away Pedro’s top corner bound curler away in the 75th.

Casillas again stood tall in the 81st after tipping Andres

Iniesta’s shot wide of the post.

”We prove to everyone we can beat any team we want,” said

Casillas after winning the only club trophy missing from his

cabinet of silverware.

With Barcelona dominating, Madrid nearly scored an injury-time

winner but Pinto – usually a backup except for cup games – tipped

Di Maria’s rising shot over the bar before Ronaldo beat Pinto in

the 98th but flashed wide of the far post.

Ronaldo was quick in the 118th as he jumped to Emmanuel

Adebayor’s tipped shot but his shot was deflected high as Madrid

withstood Di Maria’s sending off in the 120th – as Madrid finished

with 10 men against Barca for the second time in five days – to win

in front of over 52,000 fans.

Casillas added Mestalla’s smaller dimensions also helped Madrid

contain Barcelona.

”We don’t know any other way (of playing),” Alves said. ”We

leave with a bittersweet taste but with our heads held very

high.”