Atletico beats Real Madrid 2-1 to win Copa del Rey
The Copa del Rey trophy was supposed to be coach Jose Mourinho’s
parting gift for Real Madrid, or at least a consolation prize after
a season that will be remembered for his abrasive antics and his
team’s failure to win silverware.
Instead, Atletico Madrid ended a 14-year winless run against its
city rival by taking the title on Friday, coming from behind for a
cathartic 2-1 win in extra time after Mourinho and his star forward
Cristiano Ronaldo were sent off.
Brazilian defender Miranda headed in Jorge ”Koke”
Resurrecion’s cross in the eighth minute of extra time to give
Atletico its 10th Copa del Rey title and first since 1996.
”This is for our fans that have suffered for 14 years,”
Atletico’s captain Gabi Fernandez said moments before he received
the trophy from Spain’s King Juan Carlos. ”This team worked hard
for this and deserved it.”
Ronaldo appeared to have put Madrid on its way to yet another
victory over its crosstown rivals when he headed in a goal in the
14th minute. But Atletico refused to fold and Radamel Falcao set up
Diego Costa to level 10 minutes before halftime.
Mourinho was sent off for protesting a decision in the 76th.
Likely heading back to England in the offseason, he will finish his
last campaign in Madrid without a title after it lost the Spanish
league to Barcelona and bowed out of the Champions League
”This is my worst season. I have never not won an important
title. You can say I failed this season,” Mourinho said. ”With
one final, a semifinal, a second-place finish, and a Spanish
Supercup, for many other coaches it would have been a good season.
For me it’s the worst.”
Mourinho repeated that he would decide his future with club
president Florentino Perez after the season ends in early June,
although there is strong expectation he will return to former club
The final was a vibrant match but not without its ugly side.
Ronaldo received a straight red card for kicking Gabi in the
face in the 114th, setting off a sideline scuffle between the
Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was struck in the head by
an object thrown from the Santiago Bernabeu stands shortly
Atletico also ended the match with 10 men when Gabi was sent off
seconds before the final whistle for a second yellow card. But that
came too late to prevent a victory that even the coach acknowledged
was a lucky one, with Madrid’s shots repeatedly hitting the frame
of the goal.
”We had the good fortune that a champion needs,” said Atletico
coach Diego Simeone, who added the cup to the Europa League title
won last year. ”What these players have done for the past year and
a half is amazing. I don’t have words for it.”
Following years of frustration and accumulated doubt after
failing to beat Madrid in 25 games since 1999, Atletico had to
overcome an opening goal by Ronaldo.
Ronaldo, who scored the extra-time winner that beat Barcelona
and give Madrid the 2011 Copa title, looked set to play the
starring role once again when he rose over a defender to head in
Luka Modric’s corner and net his 55th goal of the season.
But the Portugal forward let the emotion of the game’s final
minutes get the best of him, hurting his side when he left it a man
down just when it most needed his help.
Mourinho spent the game in the dugout after being jeered before
the match by both sets of fans, with the home supporters upset at
his dropping of iconic goalkeeper Iker Casillas and supposed desire
to return to England.
When he did emerge, he didn’t last long as the referee dismissed
him for vehemently protesting a foul.
Atletico held firm after Ronaldo’s opener and were rewarded with
an equalizer. Falcao held off Raul Albiol’s tackle, spun with the
ball, and placed a perfectly weighted pass for Diego Costa to run
clear and drive a left-footed strike under `keeper Diego Lopez.
”Incredible,” Falcao said, on the point of tears. ”We are so
happy for this win. We have to enjoy this.”
Madrid came alive after Atletico equalized, and Mesut Ozil
volleyed a long strike off the right post a minute from
The tension increased in the second half both in the stands and
on the pitch, as Madrid began to tilt the action toward Atletico’s
area and soon had two golden chances in the 61st when Karim Benzema
fired a loose ball off the upright. Ozil then pounced on the
rebound and with Courtois off line seemed sure to score, but
defender Juanfran Torres blocked his shot on the goalline.
In the 68th it was Ronaldo’s turn to curse the goal frame when
he fooled the defensive wall by slotting his free kick at the edge
of the box under Mario Suarez as he jumped, only to see it crash
off the post.
”It isn’t normal to hit the post three times,” said Mourinho.
”You don’t have to be an expert to think that the result wasn’t
fair, that Atletico isn’t the just winner. But in football all that
is forgotten, the posts, the referee, and Atletico goes down the
With Mourinho gone, Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka made all
three changes at the start of extra time. But even though Madrid
had the fresher legs, it was Atletico that surged back in front for
Lopez saved Diego Costa’s back-to-back tries in the 95th, but he
couldn’t stop Miranda from meeting an out-swinging cross to score
at the near post by nodding the ball under the goalkeeper and into
the net to send the fans clad in red and white into ecstasy.
Madrid wasn’t done and only Courtois’ goalkeeping protected its
lead with stops to deny Gonzalo Higuain in the 104th and then Ozil
in four minutes into the second added period when he stretched to
deflect his close-range shot over the bar.