Gareth Bale scored a sensational solo goal as Real Madrid defeated Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final to claim the coveted Spanish trophy.
Bale scored the winner in the 85th minute, after he picked up the ball on the left wing before slaloming his way towards the goal under close pressure from Barcelona defender Marc Barta and then prodding the ball beneath their goalkeeper, Jose Pinto.
You can check out a Vine of the goal below:
Barcelona had drawn level deep into the second half after their young defender, Marc Batra, headed home Xavi’s corner with devastating precision:
Angel Di Maria had given Real the lead in the 10th minute, even though Barcelona had dominated possession from the outset of the game. Karim Benzema played the ball to Di Maria who then held off a defender and drove it into the bottom corner.
There was a dramatic conclusion to the game as Brazilian forward, Neymar, stabbed an effort from just inside the box that came back off the post after it had just passed Iker Casillas.
Bale had previously had a goal disallowed in the 67th minute after Pinto completely missed a corner.
Real Madrid went into the game as slight underdogs after it was revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn’t play in the encounter, due to a persistent hamstring injury.
This defeat will also increase the pressure on Gerardo Martino, Barcelona’s manager, who has come in for repeated abuse from the Nou Camp faithful because of their recent poor form. Not only were they knocked out of the Champions League last week by Atletico Madrid, but their loss to Granada at the weekend means that they are now third favorites to reclaim the La Liga crown they picked up last year.
It’s believed that Martino will be replaced in the summer, with Jurgen Klopp repeatedly linked to the position, and this defeat to Real Madrid all but confirms his exit.
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale went a long way to answering the numerous critics that have questioned his $140million price tag. The Welsh winger made easy work of Bartra’s attempts to nudge him both off the ball and pitch, before then making the 50-yard journey to Pinto’s goal look like a walk in the park.
Of course, he is still playing second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, but his performance tonight proves that when the Portugese demi-God isn’t in the side, the Spanish giants still have a player of equal class and composure to turn to.
[Image via Bing]