Atletico Madrid won a wild Copa del Rey final on Friday, beating arch rival Real Madrid for the first time in 14 years, 2-1 in extra time to capture the title.
The championship victory marks the first time Atletico have won the Copa del Rey since 1996. Diego Simeone's squad struggled mightily at times, but was able to overcome an early 1-0 deficit to stun Real inside their home stadium at the Bernabeu.
PHOTO: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his opening goal in the Copa del Rey final. twitter.com/ESPNFC/status/…— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 17, 2013
Diego Costa delivered the equalizer for Atletico in the 35th minute, capitalizing on a brilliant ball played in by Radamel Falcao to beat Diego Lopez just inside the right post:
Diego Costa! What a run and what a finish with his left foot. Great vision and a perfectly weighted pass from Falcao too. 1-1. #CopaDelRey— KICKTV (@KICKTV) May 17, 2013
Following a few back-and-forth runs, both sides entered the locker room deadlocked at 1-1.
In the second half, Real created tons of chances early but were unlucky not to move ahead. In addition to a number of solid Real chances, the second 45 minutes also featured tons of yellow cards:
I don't think I've ever seen this many cards given out so quickly... #copadelrey— Josh Potter (@jpotta4) May 17, 2013
Five players were booked within the first 30 minutes of the second half as the refereeing started to get incredibly inconsistent.
Then, after arguing a call with an official late in the match, Real boss Jose Mourinho was sent from the dugout and forced to leave his squad to fend for itself:
The officiating in the Copa Del Rey has gotten ridiculous. Mourinho gets sent off the sideline for no reason. Unbelievable— jeremy clements (@j_clem) May 17, 2013
Atletico would seize momentum after Mourinho was sent off, creating numerous scoring chances off of set pieces late in stoppage time. Real's defense wouldn't budge, though, as the referee blew the whistle, signalling there would be extra time.
In the 95th minute, Costa would get behind the Real defense but shoot the ball directly at Diego Lopez, squandering a wonderful chance to put Atletico ahead.
Four minutes later, though, Atletico defender Miranda would head home a cross from Koke, putting Los Rojiblancos ahead 2-1 in extra time:
Koke's delivery has been awful until that point but finally produces a good cross and Miranda heads home for Atletico. #CopaDelRey— Jason Le Miere (@JasonLeMiere) May 17, 2013
In the 109th minute, it looked as if Real would level the match, but Thibaut Courtois made a brilliant save on Mesut Ozil's shot attempt from inside the box, denying the home team a sure goal:
Wow, what an unbelievable save from Courtois. #CopaDelRey— Gary Woods (@GaryWoods94) May 17, 2013
Moments later, Ronaldo was sent off for some unsportsmanlike play, igniting some drama on the sidelines:
Ronaldo off. Straight red. Ridiculous scenes on the pitch. Ronaldo off for kicking out. Punches flying now. #CopadelRey— Ben Smith (@NorthernBen) May 17, 2013
With Ronaldo went Real's chances of equalizing as time ran out on Los Blancos at the Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid: B-
Ronaldo showed why he is arguably the best player on the planet with his 14th-minute header, but then things went downhill.
The world-class midfielder probably should have scored another on Friday and didn't get a ton of help from his teammates either. Still, you can't get yourself kicked off the pitch when your team is down a goal late in the match.
Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid: A
Give Costa tons of credit for turning Falcao's well-played ball in for the match-tying goal. It was the best chance Atletico had on Friday, and if he doesn't put it away Simeone's squad likely loses in regulation instead of pulling off an unthinkable upset.
Diego Lopez, Real Madrid: C
Lopez could have been much better on Friday. Although he didn't get a ton of help from his attack, he could have done more with Costa's 35th-minute strike.
Given how weak Atletico's attack was for the majority of the first 90 minutes, if he had stopped that, perhaps Real would have gone on to win their second Copa del Rey in three years instead.
Radamel Falcao, Atletico Madrid: B+
Falcao played a crucial role in Costa's equalizing goal, assisting on the equalizer even though he flew under the radar for the most part on Friday.
Still, he was key for Los Rojiblancos during the few times they applied pressure on Real. His presence at the top of Simeone's lineup no doubt played a huge role in Miranda's match-winning goal in extra time as well.
|D||Fabio Coentrao (Off 91')||B|
|M||Luka Modric (Off 91')||B+|
|F||Karim Benzema (Off 91')||B-|
|F||Gonzalo Higuain (On 91')||C|
|M||Angel Di Maria (On 91')||B|
|D||Alvaro Arbeloa (On 91')||C|
|M||Koke (Off 113')||A|
|M||Arda Turan (Off 111')||A|
|F||Diego Costa (Off 105')||A|
|F||Adrian (On 105')||A|
|M||Christian Rodriguez (On 111')||A|
|M||Raul Garcia (On 113')||A|
How would you sum up Friday's result?
Ronaldo and Real Madrid will get some time off after Friday's Copa del Rey final defeat to rest up in anticipation for their May 26 showdown with Real Sociedad in their second-to-last La Liga match of the season.
Atletico Madrid will also have more than a week to recover from Friday's grueling final win, next playing host to Mallorca in a La Liga tilt scheduled for Sunday, May 26.
Neither side can catch league-leading Barcelona, but both have already clinched UEFA Champions League berths for next year.
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