SPAIN: Real see red as Atletico snatch Copa del Rey


Real Madrid 1 (Ronaldo 14)

Atletico Madrid 2 (Diego Costa 35, Miranda 98)

Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid defeated rivals Real Madrid for the first time since 1999 to the win their tenth Copa del Rey on Friday night. Miranda of Atletico grabbed an extra-time winner in a game which saw three sending-offs which included Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Jose Mourinho sent for early baths.

Spectacular look at the Bernabeu with the deployment of two banners.

Real Madrid began the game popping the ball about nicely, and although they did not make much progress, Mourinho’s side stamped their authority on proceedings. For example six minutes into the match, the ever-confident Ronaldo, while shooting from 40 yards the ball gained a deflection off an incoming defender. The Portuguese winger’s effort looped up high, the imposing Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (on-loan from Chelsea) kept his eye on it and claimed it comfortably.

Courtois can not do anything with the powerful header from Cristiano.

However much Real dominated early on, Atletico soaked up all the pressure and coped until just under a quarter of an hour gone. In his 55th goal of the season, Ronaldo prised himself free of the attentions of Diego Godin and powerfully headed home Mesut Ozil’s whipping corner as striker Radamel Falcao failed to get across in time.

Unfortunately for Real, the early goal might well have hampered Real’s game, their tempo dropped and they demanded some Atletico pressure, maybe to hit them on the break but that plan did not come to fruition. Simeone’s side found themselves level with their first real chance.

Diego Costa festeja por todo lo alto el tanto del empate.

The ever-dangerous Colombian striker Falcao twisted and turned like a whirling dervish in midfield to throw Real defender Raul Albiol off his scent and then played an inch-perfect throughball for Diego Costa. Veteran defensive midfielder Michael Essien tried in vain to get back to the Brazilian, but the striker’s shot was low and too strong for goalkeeper Diego Lopez’s left hand to keep out on 35 minutes.

Real picked up the speed of the match again before half-time looking for the second goal to regain the lead and they nearly gained it. Ozil thumped the foot of Courtois’ post with a smartly hit snap-shot from the edge of the box. Clinging on for the half-time whistle, Atletico survived.

The second period picked up the same way the first finished with Real on the hunt and rapidly attacking Atletico. A few minutes in, the impressive Courtois almost got caught out underneath a Ronaldo inswinger and the Belgian ‘keeper only just managed to readjust and get his fingertips to the ball as it threatened to sneak in at the far post.

Just after the hour mark, Atletico survived again by the skin of their teeth, or the paint of their crossbar so to speak. Ronaldo again causing havoc down the left and his low cross fell for French striker Karim Benzema who smashed his shot against the post from seven yards. The loose ball broke to Ozil who lunged at the ball and sent another shot past Courtois. This time the alert Juanfran luckily clears off the line with his knee.

It was proving not to being Real’s night as Ronaldo hit the woodwork again on 65 minutes with a superb free-kick that just needed to be an inch lower to score and Essien failed to do anything with the rebound.

Clos expulsó a Mourinho

With just ten minutes to go, Mourinho’s frustations shone through as he was sent to the stands. The manager saw red after Mario Suarez went down too easily for the Real boss’s liking in a collision with Benzema. Gesticulating, finger jabbing and a stream of angry looking Spanish, Mourinho gave it the full pantomine show, before marching off down the tunnel.

A midfield battle ensued for the remainder of the ninety as we entered into an extra thirty minutes.  The drama was not over.

Looking to freshen things up, Mourinho (from the stands) made three changes before extra-time. Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Fabio Coentrao replaced Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria and Alvaro Arbeloa in a triple substitution.

With the changes, Real suddenly seem to lose all composure at the back and Atletico took advantage of Real’s sudden loss of composure at the back as Miranda escaped his marker and glanced home Koke’s cross before Diego Lopez could get his fist to the ball.

Just before the break in extra-time, Courtois was involved again and somehow got his shin in the way of a Higuain well-struck effort from close range. The big Belgian was pumped up after that save which got the crowd erupting further. Minutes after the kick-off for the second period, Courtois kept his teams lead again, this time flinging himself across the goal to save a fierce Ozil effort.

Minutes before the full-time whistle, the match erupted and the referee’s pocket booked filled. Ronaldo was wiped out in a challenge by Gabi, but the television replays showed that Ronaldo appeared to flick his boot at the Atletico man’s face on his way down. Gabi dived around despite there being minimal contact and the referee plucked a straight red out of his top pocket. In the immediate aftermath, a shoving match between Real defender Pepe and Simeone exploded on the touchline. Meanwhile, Courtois received treatment after apparently being hit by an object thrown from the Real section behind his goal.

Gabi later stupidly received his marching orders too after encroaching at a free-kick to earn a second yellow card.

Atletico’s squad sprinted across the pitch as the whistle was blown to celebrate in front of their travelling fans as an angry Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho now ends the season without any silverware.



Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.