Copa del Rey - Brilliant Bale goal sees Real win classic final

Copa Del Rey, Mestalla - Barcelona 1 (Bartra 68’) Real Madrid 2 (Di Maria 11’ Bale 85’)

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Copa del Rey - Brilliant Bale goal sees Real win classic final
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Real Madrid players celebrate with the trophy after winning the King's Cup final soccer match against Barcelona at Mestalla stadium in Valencia April 16, 2014 (Reuters)

Gareth Bale’s incredible late goal won Real Madrid the Copa del Rey in a 2-1 victory against Barcelona.

Real Madrid had the best of the first half chances, and went ahead when Angel di Maria broke the offside trap - just - running onto Karim Benzema’s pass and squeezing a shot under Jose Pinto. Five minutes before, Gareth Bale went close with a shot from a similar position, which went just wide, and Javier Mascherano deflected another Bale effort away from goal.

Barcelona had fewer clear-cut chances, and came closest when Jordi Alba headed straight at Iker Casillas. An oddly subdued Lionel Messi dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box.

In the second half, 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, out of nowhere, Barca had an equaliser when Marca Bartra - criminally left unmarked in the box - headed a corner into the far corner.

Then Bale won it. Starting a counter-attack, he powered past Bartra on the wing, ran towards goal and tapped under the keeper after running from inside his own half. Neymar hit the post with a minute remaining, but Real had done enough.

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KEY EVENTS

7’ - BALE CHANCE - Benzema’s deflected pass finds Bale inside the box, who cleverly loses his marker but has his shot blocked by Mascherano.

10’ - DI MARIA GOAL - Benzema springs Di Maria clear of the Barcelona defence, and Di Maria sprints towards goal before firing a shot low into the corner.

23’ - ALBA HEADER - Dani Alves’s cross from the right is met at the back post by Alba, but it’s straight at Casillas.

42’ - MESSI SHOT - The ball rolls to Messi on the edge of the box, but he drags his shot a few yards wide.

49’ - BALE SHOT - Bale sidesteps two Barcelona defenders and tries to flick the ball inside the near post, but it hits the side netting.

54’- BALE MISS - Busquets heads the ball out of the box, straight to Bale, and he lashes a volley just over.

66’ - PINTO SAVE - Benzema has space on the left of the box, and Pinto is down smartly to save at the near post.

68’ - BARTRA GOAL - Bartra heads an outswinging corner from the left towards the far post, left unmarked by Pepe. A dreadful mistake and superb header.

80’ - MODRIC HITS THE POST - In space, Modric shoots from distance, low and towards the corner, but it clips the post.

86’ - BALE GOAL - Bale speeds down the left, and knocks the ball past Bartra. Bartra shoves him out past the byline, and so Bartra has about seven yards advantage on Bale. No matter. Bale runs all the way around Bartra, chomping up the yards, drives towards goal from the byline, under the attention from Bartra and dinks the ball underneath Pinto. What a goal!

89’ - NEYMAR HITS THE POST - Just the ‘keeper to beat and he hits the woodwork, A staggering miss.

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KEY STATS

Di María has now scored four goals in the Copa del Rey this season.

Real Madrid had only 32% of possession in the first half

This is Gareth Bale’s first trophy for Real Madrid

Despite having less possession that Barcelona, Real Madrid had 18 attempts on goal and Barca only 12.

TALKING POINT

Is Gareth Bale paying off his hefty price tag? This was a vital goal for Gareth Bale. It's been said that he does not score enough goals, and that he goes missing in the biggest games. While that might be expected from a player coming from Spurs to Real Madrid in his first season, his winner today indicated that he has it within him to be one of the best players in the world.

MATCHCAST: FULL MATCH STATS AND COMMENTARY

MAN OF THE MATCH

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): Missing Cristiano Ronaldo, Real were able to rely on Di Maria’s pace to break after sustained periods of Barcelona possession, and also to score the first goal. However, Gareth Bale's remarkable run and finish, and the importance of the goal itself, means he was the most impressive performer.

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PLAYER RATINGS

Real Madrid: Casillas 6, Pepe 6, Ramos 6, Coentrão 6, Xabi Alonso 6, Carvajal 7, Modric 6, Isco 6, Di María 7, Benzema 7, Bale 8. Subs: Casemiro 6, Illarra 6, Varane 6.

Barcelona: Pinto 6, Alves 5, Mascherano 5, Bartra 6, Alba 6, Sergio 5, Xavi 5, Iniesta 5, Neymar 5, Messi 5, Fàbregas 5. Subs: Adriano 5, Pedro 6, Alexis 6.

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