Real Madrid lifted the Copa del Rey following a thrilling 2-1 win over Barcelona at La Mestalla, Wednesday.
Angel Di Maria opened the scoring for Los Blancos after only 11 minutes, but after the restart Barcelona grew in power and equalised through Marc Bartra in the 69th.
It looked as though extra time was inevitable until Gareth Bale, after running ‘round Bartra, sprinted in on goal to complete a sublime, solo effort to win the trophy.
Following are ratings and analysis for both sets of players.
Half-Time analysis for Barcelona
Pinto: Might have not strayed so far to his right on the Di Maria goal.
D.Alves: Must have played in a half-dozen pointless crosses already.
Mascherano: Has looked extremely shaky whenever Bale has cut in on him.
Bartra: Has so far won all of his aerial battles.
J.Alba: Had a half-chance with a header at the far post.
Xavi: The pass-master has so far completed 100% of his passes.
Busquets: Made a vital intervention to keep Bale from scoring.
Fabregas: Distributing the ball well.
Neymar: Barcelona’s most active attacker is also on a yellow card following a bust-up with Pepe.
Messi: Only 30 touches in the first half—many of them too deep for him to do anything effective.
Iniesta: Distribution has been poor; he’s generally underperformed.
Full-Time analysis for Barcelona
Pinto: Could have done far better on both goals.
D.Alves: Touched the ball an incredible 126 times and was far more effective cutting inside than playing crosses.
Mascherano: Booked for a careless foul on Pepe after being caught out of position.
Bartra: Took a fine leap and nodded Barcelona level with 21 minutes remaining.
J.Alba: Didn’t come out to start the second half after picking up an apparent injury.
Xavi: Delivered the cross for Bartra to convert and completed 97% of his passes on the night.
Busquets: A mostly underwhelming display over the 90 minutes.
Fabregas: Didn’t make much of an impression before being replaced by Pedro.
Neymar: Struck the upright with seconds left on the clock.
Messi: Needn’t have bothered to show up.
Iniesta: One of his poorest matches of the season.
Adriano: Provided some useful width to the Barcelona attack in the second half.
Pedro: Only 19 touches following his introduction.
Alexis: Should have come on long before the 87th minute.
Half-Time analysis for Real Madrid
Casillas: His easy stop on the Jordi Alba header was his only save of the first half.
Carvajal: Finding himself pinned back at times under pressure from Jordi Alba.
Pepe: Booked for a clash with Neymar.
S.Ramos: Woeful distribution and poor performance in the air so far.
Coentrao: Really having a go at Dani Alves.
Modric: Has completed 96% of his passes so far.
X.Alonso: Providing a reliable shield in front of the Madrid defense.
Di Maria: The best player on the pitch through 45 minutes, he scored a goal and continues to combine well with Bale and Benzema
Bale: Came close to scoring with two shots to the far corner.
Benzema: Set up Di Maria expertly for the opener.
Isco: Has contributed three tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
Full-Time analysis for Real Madrid
Casillas: Had one shaky moment in the second half but made the three saves required of him.
Carvajal: Did really well opposite Neymar when the Brazilian switched to the left-hand side.
Pepe: Left Bartra free to head in his equaliser.
S.Ramos: His passing was off and he wasn’t his usually forceful self in the air.
Coentrao: Sprung Bale for the winner with a well-placed ball down the left.
Modric: Completed 90% of his passes and was excellent defensively in the second half.
X.Alonso: Contributed five tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
Di Maria: Another exceptional performance on both sides of the ball.
Bale: His solo effort in the 85th minute is to the Copa del Rey what Ryan Giggs’ goal against Arsenal is to the FA Cup.
Benzema: Had several half-chances, but his biggest impact was the assist on Di Maria’s opener.
Isco: Madrid’s best tackler on the night, he is really developing into a superb, all-around player.
Illarramendi: Brought on to shut things down immediately after the Bale goal.
Casemiro: Just three touches after his 89th minute introduction.
Varane: Was introduced as Madrid battened down the hatches.