A stunning solo run from Gareth Bale in the dying stages gave Real Madrid a thrilling 2-1 win over fierce rivals Barcelona as the Los Blancos won the COPA Del Ray. Real Madrid deservingly took the lead in just 11 minutes when Argentine Angel Di Maria opened the scoring at Valencia’s home stadium Mestella on the night. The Blaugrana however restored parity when defender Marc Bartra headed home form Xavi’s corner.
It was then left to Bale to take centre stage. Real countered off a Barca corner as Isco fed Bale with a nice composed touch. The Welshman was pushed wider by Bartra before running wide of the pitch with enormous pace, getting to the ball and slotting home after a delirious move.
Having being eliminated in the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, and then losing against Granada in La Liga at the weekend, the pressure was on Tata Martino’s men to beat Real. But Carlo Ancelotti’s side picked up the first piece of silverware of the season from King Juan Carlos of Spain who graced the occasion with his solemn presence from the stands.
Carlo Ancelotti, who adds the Copa del Rey to domestic cups won as a manager in Italy and England, said: “Bale scored at a critical moment. For sure it’s his most important goal. I am happy to win the cup. We deserved it. I think Barcelona played well. Maybe things haven’t worked out for them this season, but they will still fight for La Liga.”
Tata Martino however felt he didn’t feel the pressure and the fear of being sacked is not even on his minds. “Everyone says that this Barcelona team has finished their cycle but my opinion is that it is very dangerous. Obviously this is not a good moment. It has been a hard week on all fronts. As I have said for one, two, three months now, I don’t feel that my future has changed because of all that we lost, and nor do I think it would be different if we had won.”
See Bale’s magnificent goal below