Gareth Bale scores the winner for Real Madrid (Getty Images)
Gareth Bale’s incredible solo effort clinched Real Madrid the Copa del Rey in a 2-1 final victory against Barcelona. The final of Copa del Rey took place at Valencia’s home stadium – the Mestalla.
Real Madrid who played without their star-man Cristiano Ronaldo had the best of the first half chances, and went ahead after only 11 minutes when Angel di Maria broke Barcelona’s offside trap. The Argentine winger’s effort although quite weak could not be kept out by Jose Pinto. Di Maria helped the Real Madrid fans forget the Gareth Bale miss only moments before the goal from a similar position.
Barcelona struggled to find as many clear-cut chances Real Madrid had, and came closest through Jordi Alba who headed straight at Iker Casillas. Lionel Messi had a night to forget as his only first half effort was a dragged shot wide from the edge of the box.
In the second half, Gareth Bale missed two early chances to extend Real’s lead, and Karim Benzema almost squeezed in a shot at the near post.
On 68 minutes, Marca Bartra helped peg one back for Barcelona through a pinpoint header from a corner. The equalizer made things interesting for the football fans. It looked as though extra time was inevitable until Gareth Bale, who started a counter-attack from his own-half to then power around Bartra on the left flank, sprinted in on goal to complete an incredible, solo effort to put a strong hand on the Copa del Rey trophy.
Barcelona desperately searched for an equalizer that would force extra time, but after Neymar’s close-range effort that hit the post, they were destined to end up disappointed.
The world-record signing justified his large transfer fee by delivering himself and Carlo Ancelotti his first piece of silverware as Real Madrid boss. Real Madrid are now fighting to win the La Liga and Champions League.