MX23RW : Friday, March 5 13:53:14| >> :120:58893:58893:
Apr 16, 2014 at 8.30pm UK at Estadio de Mestalla
Real Madrid
Bartra (69')
FT(HT: 0-1)
di Maria (11'), Bale (85')

Live Commentary: Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid - as it happened

strong>Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the Copa del Rey final at the Mestalla as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1.

The 2014 Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Real Madrid took place at the Mestalla this evening.

Angel di Maria handed Madrid the lead after just 11 minutes, with that strike the difference between the two sides at the interval.

Barcelona levelled after 68 minutes through Marc Bartra, but a solo goal from Gareth Bale late on secured the trophy for Los Blancos.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

Evening all! Well, it has been a long and exciting Copa del Rey campaign. It all comes to an end tonight, however, as Barcelona face Real Madrid at the Mestalla. Be sure to remain with Sports Mole as we build up to kickoff, which is due to take place at 8.30pm. I shall have the all-important team news with you when it filters through from Valencia. Until then, all the facts and figures.

As mentioned, Barcelona are the most successful team in the history of the Copa del Rey having won the tournament on 26 occasions. The Catalan outfit have been beaten in each of their last two finals, however, the last of which came in 2011, when a Cristiano Ronaldo header in extra time gave Jose Mourinho his first trophy as manager of Los Blancos. The atmosphere is already building at the Mestalla...

Surprisingly, Real Madrid are not the second-most successful team in the Copa del Rey. The capital outfit have won the competition on 18 separate occasions and finished as runners-up a further 20 times, but they sit third in the all-time list, with Basque outfit Athletic Bilbao picking up the trophy on 23 occasions.

It would be fair to state that the Copa del Rey has been somewhat undervalued by the bigger teams in Spain in past seasons due to league and Champions League commitments and the financial power that comes with it, but that is not the case anymore. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have all contested the final in recent seasons, with the latter overcoming Real Madrid to pick up the accolade last season.

In total, Barcelona and Real Madrid have met 226 times in official competition. Real Madrid have won 90 times, Barcelona 88 and the further 48 fixtures have ended with a share of the spoils. In terms of their meetings in the Copa del Rey, Barcelona have won 14 of those matches to Real Madrid's seven, but quite incredibly, both sides have scored 62 times in that run of games. Meanwhile...

The pair have met twice in the league this season, with Barcelona running out 2-1 winners at the Camp Nou last October, before beating Real Madrid 4-3 at the Bernabeu last month. It was in that match that Lionel Messi, who scored a hat-trick, became the all-time leading scorer in Clasico history with 21 strikes.

That said, Messi has drawn criticism for a perceived lack of effort in recent weeks. The Argentine spent two months on the sidelines earlier in the season with a thigh injury and it has been suggested that the Argentine has one eye on the World Cup this summer. He has still scored 38 times this season, but is some way short of the record numbers he has set in the last two campaigns.

In truth, it has been a disastrous week for Barcelona. They were eliminated in the Champions League quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid on Wednesday after losing 1-0 at the Calderon, before going down 1-0 at Granada in the league at the weekend. It is the first time that they have gone two games without scoring since 2008.

In truth, it has been a disastrous week for Barcelona. They were eliminated in the Champions League quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid on Wednesday after losing 1-0 at the Calderon, before going down 1-0 at Granada in the league at the weekend. It is the first time that they have gone two games without scoring since 2008.

The clash with Atletico was always going to be a difficult match, but it was the surprise defeat at Granada that has raised the most questions. That result left the Catalan outfit in third spot in the table, one point behind second-place Real Madrid and four behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who travel to the Camp Nou on the final weekend of the season – that is one not to miss! However...

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Marc Bartra has been declared fit for Barcelona, with the Spaniard set to start at centre-back alongside Javier Mascherano. Cesc Fabregas has also been included, but Alexis Sanchez and Pedro both miss out on the XI. Madrid, meanwhile, go with Isco in central midfield alongside Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso. As a result, Angel di Maria moves into a forward position. Full teams to follow.


BARCA: Pinto; Alves, Mascherano, Bartra, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Neymar, Fabregas, Messi

MADRID: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Modric, Isco; Di Maria, Benzema, Bale

So there we have it. Bartra passes a late fitness test for Barcelona, meaning that Sergio Busquets returns to the centre of midfield. Xavi also returns to the XI after sitting out the defeat to Granada at the weekend. Real Madrid are as expected, meanwhile, with Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale joining Di Maria in attack. There is no place for Cristiano Ronaldo, however, who is out of action with a hamstring injury.

In terms of their route to the final of this competition, it was relatively straight-forward for Barcelona. They beat lower league outfit Cartagena 7-1 on aggregate in the fourth round, before overcoming La Liga rivals Getafe. Gerardo Martino's side then dispatched Levante 9-2 on aggregate to set up a semi-final clash with Real Sociedad, which they won 3-1 over two legs. Their campaign comes to an end this evening.

Barcelona might be in the hunt for a domestic double this season, but they have lost four of their last 12 games in all competitions. Defeat this evening could leave them with the possibility of a trophy-less season, which would ask more questions of the team as a whole and in particular current manager Martino.

Off-the-field issues have also troubled Barcelona in recent months, with the on-going Neymar saga followed by an investigation which has led to the Spanish champions being banned from signing players in the next two transfer windows. All is not well in Catalonia, but victory against Real Madrid would certainly give the supporters something to cheer. Just a reminder that kickoff is at 8.30pm this evening.

In fairness to Martino, the injury situation has been far from ideal this season. First-choice goalkeeper Victor Valdes is out for the season with a serious knee injury, while Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique and Bartra have all been struggling defensively. That said, his midfield and forward options have remained strong and the Argentine must answer questions about his team selection, which has been strange at times.

Alexis Sanchez has scored 19 times and contributed 15 assists in 48 games this season, but has been continually overlooked in the big matches - as is the case once more this evening. Xavi has also been absent from the starting XI in recent weeks, despite Cesc Fabregas failing to hit the heights from the start of the season. Neymar also started brightly, but has obviously been harmed by off-the-field incidents.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League last week despite losing 2-0 against Borussia Dortmund in the second leg in Germany. They will face German opposition once more in the shape of Bayern Munich in the semi-finals as Carlo Ancelotti targets a famous 10th European Cup.

Los Blancos' 31-match unbeaten run in all competitions was ended by Barcelona last month, with defeat at Sevilla a few days later allowing Atletico Madrid to take control in La Liga. Ancelotti's side have returned to form in recent weeks, however, scoring 16 times in their last five games and conceding just twice.

The capital outfit enter the match off the back of a 4-0 win over Almeria in La Liga, with that result moving them to within one point of leaders Atletico Madrid with just five games remaining. That said, Los Blancos have a worse head-to-head record than both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona after taking just one point from their four matches against those two sides this season.

Quite incredibly, Real Madrid are yet to concede a single goal in their eight Copa del Rey matches this season. They opened their campaign with a victory over Olimpic de Xativa, before overcoming Osasuna and then Espanyol to set up a semi-final with Atletico Madrid. It proved to be emphatic as Ancelotti's side progressed 5-0 on aggregate – winning 2-0 at the Vicente Calderon in the process.

However, as mentioned, Real Madrid are without a certain Ronaldo this evening. The Portuguese has scored 45 times in 41 games this season, including three goals in the Copa del Rey. Ronaldo has also enjoyed Clasicos in recent seasons, scoring 13 times in total, including seven in his last six, which is the longest run in Clasico history. He really is a monumental miss for Los Blancos in this contest.

That said, Gareth Bale has enjoyed a fine first season in Spain. The Welshman, who joined for a world-record fee from Tottenham Hotspur at the start of the season, has scored 19 times and contributed 15 assists in 38 appearances thus far. However, it is in these type of matches where the attacker will be expected to justify his reported £80m fee. He starts this evening alongside Benzema and Di Maria in attack.

Like Barcelona, Real Madrid have also had injuries to deal with this season. The loss of Jese Rodriguez, who had lit up La Liga, was a real blow, while there have been problems in defence, especially at left-back, with Marcelo picking up a number of strains. Sami Khedira has also been out of action for some considerable time, but that has allowed Angel di Maria to thrive in an attacking position from central midfield.

Little over 15 minutes until kickoff, which means it is just about time to hear from both managers. Firstly Martino, who told reporters on Monday: "I don't see this as any opportunity for revenge over what happened in La Liga and the Champions League. It's a title, a final and we have to win it."

Meanwhile, Ancelotti, who has refused to play down the importance of the clash, told reporters: "It's an important competition, on the same level as the FA Cup in England, and more so if we play against Barcelona, the club's historic rival. It's the first trophy we can win."

PREDICTION: Predicting the score of Clasicos in recent seasons has been difficult, but predicting drama has been fairly straight-forward. I am expecting fireworks once more, which is why the referee needs to be strong in the face of adversity. In truth, I am finding it difficult to separate the two teams over 90 or indeed 120 minutes. I think both teams will score, but I expect this to go all the way to penalties. My prediction is 2-2 AET, Real Madrid on penalties.

The atmosphere continues to build with little under 10 minutes until kickoff at the Mestalla...

Here we go then. Little under five minutes until kickoff at the Mestalla. It must be said that there is a sensational atmosphere inside the stadium. It is a match that neither side can really afford to lose. Be sure to remain with Sports Mole throughout the evening and you will not miss a kick.

The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. It is the final of the Copa del Rey between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Mestalla. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital. Right, Los Blancos get the first 45 minutes of action underway.

It must be said that there is a truly wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium this evening. Let's hope for goals at the Mestalla. Both teams are well represented in the stands that is for certain. It is Real Madrid that make the early running down the left, but Alves is on hand to challenge as Barcelona clear their lines.

BOOKING! Not too much in terms of chances created in the opening four minutes, with both sides just attempting to find their way into the contest. Di Maria attempts to find Benzema with a through pass, but Mascherano is on hand to clear. Barcelona break with Neymar moments later, but Isco comes across and fouls the Brazilian, picking up a yellow card in the process. A bit early, referee!

Penalty shout for Barcelona as Carvajal challenges Alba inside the box, but the referee is not interested. Replays have shown that the referee was absolutely spot on. It was brilliant football in the build-up between Iniesta and Alba. Messi threatens moments later, but Casillas is out to claim at the vital moment.

CHANCE! The first real chance of the match falls to Bale following a through pass from Modric, but the Real Madrid forward fires his effort just wide of the post. End-to-end football.

CHANCE! Another chance for Bale as the Welshman turns inside the Barcelona box before attempting to find the top corner, but Mascherano just does enough to convert the Real Madrid forward's effort behind for a corner. It is all happening in the opening seven minutes at the Mestalla.

So, nine minutes into the contest and Real Madrid have been on top. Bale has twice come close for the capital outfit, but been denied on both occasions. Iniesta wants a free kick inside the Real Madrid half moments later, but the referee waves his finger. Moments later, Iniesta concedes a free kick by fouling Carvajal.

GOAL! Barcelona 0-1 Real Madrid (Di Maria)

First blood Real Madrid! Los Blancos take the lead with 11 minutes on the clock as Benzema feeds Di Maria, who drives into the box before finding the bottom corner. Poor goalkeeping from Pinto, but brilliant start to the contest from Carlo Ancelotti's side. Can Barcelona respond?

You cannot say that it had not been coming. The warning signs had been there for Barcelona, who are having plenty of the ball without really threatening the Real Madrid goal. What a start for Los Blancos.

Half-chance for Barcelona as Neymar drives into the Real Madrid box before clipping a cross towards Messi, but Pepe is on hand to head back to his own goalkeeper. Barcelona enjoy a period with the ball moments later, but are finding it difficult to break this stern Real Madrid defence down. Still 1-0 Los Blancos in Valencia.

Another penalty shout for Barcelona as Neymar clashes with Coentrao inside the Real Madrid box, but the referee is not interested. Moments later, an altercation occurs between both sets of players following a clash between Neymar and the Real Madrid left-back. Tensions are starting to rise, it did not take long!

BOOKINGS! Neymar and Pepe both have their name taken following that incident. Three bookings in the opening 17 minutes of this Copa del Rey contest, which is not much of a surprise.

A pattern has developed in the last few moments, with Barcelona enjoying plenty of the ball and Real Madrid attempting to break whenever possible. You just get the feeling that Barcelona cannot afford to concede a second at this stage of proceedings. Since Los Blancos took the lead, there have been no clear chances.

Half-chance for Real Madrid as Bale drives into the Barcelona box before finding Di Maria, but his effort is straight into the arms of Pinto. Barcelona break down the other end moments later with Neymar, but once more Real Madrid drop in and contain the pressure. A half-chance does arrive when Iniesta drives a low cross towards the far post, but Neymar cannot make up the extra ground and it goes out for a goal kick.

The end-to-end period of the match continues, but clear chances have been at a premium since Di Maria handed Real Madrid the lead. A half-chance does arrive for Barcelona as Alves finds Alba inside the box, but the left-back's header is straight into the arms of Casillas. Better from the Catalan outfit.

According to Sky Sports News, the right foot of Bartra played Di Maria onside for the Real Madrid goal. There had been some questions as to whether the Argentine was in an offside position.

Another half-chance for Barcelona as Neymar rises highest to meet a cross from Alba, but his header is wide of the post. Much better from the Catalan outfit, but still Real Madrid retain their lead. The opening 28 minutes of this contest have just flown past. I would be astounded if we had seen the last of the goals.

Slightly untidy period of the match in the last couple of moments, with the referee forced to intervene following a number of late challenges. However, no more cards have been issued. Real Madrid force a corner from Bartra moments later, but Bartra is on hand to clear with a towering header at the near post.

Half-chance for Barcelona as Alba finds some space down the left before cutting a cross towards Iniesta, but Pepe is on hand to make the block. Los Blancos attempt to break with Isco moments later, but the Spaniard is deemed to have felled Xavi and Barcelona have a free kick. Still 1-0 Real Madrid after 32 minutes.

It is over 11 years since Barcelona last lost three games in a row, but that is what the Catalan outfit are facing at the moment. Real Madrid break with Carvajal moments later, but the right-back cannot find Bale. End-to-end football, but no real clear opportunities in the last few minutes as Barca continue to work it wide.

Barcelona's strong period of pressure continues as a cross from Alba is deflected behind for a corner. Messi picks up possession outside the box moments later, but his effort is straight into the arms of Casillas.

CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Real Madrid as Bale drives down the left before finding Isco with a low cross, but Alba is across to make a stunning last-ditch challenge at the vital moment.

Another half-chance for Real Madrid as Benzema breaks down the right before finding Bale, but Bartra just does enough to clear at the vital moment. Time and time again Barcelona are emptying the midfield, which is allowing Los Blancos to break with pace and numbers. Little over five minutes of the half remaining.

Di Maria threatens to launch another pacey break for Real Madrid, but the Argentine had just carried the ball out of play down the right. Barcelona continue to enjoy plenty of the ball in the Real Madrid half, but are not really threatening. It has been a very straightforward first period for Madrid stopper Iker Casillas.

First real sign of Messi as the Argentine finds some space outside the Real Madrid box, but his effort moves wide of the post. Moments before, Iniesta had fallen inside the box, but once more the referee was not interested. I shouldn't think that there will be too much added time at the end of the first half.

CHANCE! Another chance falls to Real Madrid as Di Maria finds Benzema inside the Barcelona box, but the Frenchman just drags his effort wide of the post.

HALF-TIME: Barcelona 0-1 Real Madrid

So there we have it. The referee brings the first 45 minutes to an end with Real Madrid leading 1-0 at the interval courtesy of a strike from Di Maria. Barcelona, as expected, have had plenty of the ball, but the better chances have fallen on the counter to Los Blancos. Plenty to ponder for the Catalan outfit.

STATISTICS: Barcelona have had more of the ball with 65%, but they have had just one attempt on target. Madrid, on the other hand, have hit the target twice. The referee has issued three yellow cards thus far, meanwhile, with Neymar in the book for Barcelona and Isco and Pepe for Los Blancos.

BENCH WATCH: Barcelona have two clear attacking options on their bench this evening in the shape of Pedro and Sanchez and it would not be a surprise to see one or indeed both at the interval. Real Madrid, meanwhile, have the likes of Morata, Casemiro and youngster Willian in reserve.

Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second 45 minutes. You just get the feeling that Barcelona need to score the next goal if they are to turn this one around. It is now two and a half games since the Catalan outfit last scored. Right, Martino's side get the second period underway.

SUB! One change for Barcelona at the interval, with Adriano replacing Alba. It is understood that the left-back picked up an injury in the first period. Still no sign of Pedro or Sanchez.

Unsurprisingly, Real Madrid go with the same XI from the first period. Little under 45 minutes for Barcelona to save their season. The Catalan outfit have started the second period on the front foot and in possession, but that was the case for much of the opening 45 minutes.

Barcelona continue to dominate possession in the final third, but they are finding it difficult to break through this Real Madrid defence, which was the case for much of the first period. Real Madrid break with Modric moments later, but Neymar is across to make the challenge at the vital moment.

CHANCE! Wonderful work from Bale as the Welshman drives into the Barcelona box before attempting to find the bottom corner, but his poked effort is just wide of the post.

Opportunity for Barcelona to threaten from a free kick as Pepe, who has already been booked, brings Messi to the ground outside the box. The Argentine takes the resulting set piece, but his effort is into the stands.

BOOKING! Mascherano enters the book for Barcelona for bringing Pepe to the ground outside the box. Slightly untidy period in the last two minutes with late challenges arriving from both sides.

CHANCE! Another wonderful chance for Bale as the Real Madrid attacker finds some space on the edge of the box, but his half-volley just moves high of the crossbar. It is all happening here!

Barcelona just cannot keep the ball at the moment as Real Madrid counter once more, but Isco just loses control at the final moment. Little over 30 minutes of this Copa del Rey contest remaining and still Los Blancos lead. No sign of Pedro or Sanchez, which is a surprise at this stage of proceedings.

Another penalty shout for Barcelona as Fabregas goes down inside the Real Madrid box under pressure from Ramos, but once more the referee is not interested. Good spell for the Catalan outfit as they continue to pin Real Madrid into their own box, but clear chances have been at a premium in the second period.

SUB! Barcelona make their second change of the match as Pedro enters the field in place of Fabregas, which is not much of a surprise. Can the winger inspire his team once more?

Again it is super work from Di Maria as the Argentine breaks down the right before feeding Carvajal, but his cross is cleared behind for a corner. The resulting set piece is delivered by Modric, but Benzema's header is straight into the arms of Pinto, who immediately concedes possession to Isco on the left.

CHANCE! Another chance for Real Madrid as Benzema drives towards the Barcelona box before curling one towards goal, but Mascherano deflects it behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.

Not too much from Barcelona in the last couple of minutes and time is not on their side at the moment. Last week, they were still on for a treble, but they are now facing the possibility of finishing without a trophy. Little over 25 minutes of football remaining and still Real Madrid's defence remains largely untroubled.

Bartra tries his luck for Barcelona, but Casillas gets strong hands on the effort. The resulting corner is delivered deep towards the far post, but Casillas collects once more. No movement on the Real Madrid defence, but Carlo Ancelotti will surely be considering options as time continues to pass at the Mestalla.

CHANCE! Another chance for Benzema as the Real Madrid forward drives into the box before attempting to find the bottom corner, but Pinto is on hand to make a super save down to his right.

GOAL DISALLOWED! Real Madrid have the ball in the back of the net as Bale converts a header from close range, but the offside flag had been raised. Little over 20 minutes of this contest remaining.

GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (Bartra)

Barcelona level the scores after 68 minutes as Bartra rises inside the Real Madrid box before planting his header into the top corner. Sensational effort from the centre-back.

Wow, wow. All level here! Real Madrid break immediately down the other end with Benzema, but his low cross is cleared by Busquets. You just get the feeling that we have not seen the last of the goals in normal time. End-to-end football at the Mestalla in what has been a truly pulsating contest.

Now it is Barcelona that are in control of the match as the Catalan outfit break forward with Neymar, but Carvajal just does enough to clear at the vital moment. Just a reminder that this match must be decided this evening. As it stands, we are heading for extra-time at the Mestalla. Bale is down the other end for Real Madrid in the next attack, but his effort is straight at Pinto.

Still no movement on the Real Madrid bench, but that said, Los Blancos do not have too many first-team options in reserve this evening. Play is stopped for a small period after 75 minutes as Pepe clashes with his own teammate Carvajal, but both players return to their feet moments later.

Alves takes matters into his own hands for Barcelona, but his effort is high and wide of the post. Not too much from Real Madrid since they conceded, but Los Blancos remain a threat with their pace on the counter. Little over 10 minutes of normal time remaining and the two sides cannot be separated.

CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Barcelona as Messi drives past Alonso before finding Alves, who drills a low cross into the Real Madrid box, but Pedro cannot make contact as Pepe clears the danger. It is all Barcelona at the moment. That equaliser has completely changed the match at the Mestalla.

POST! Brilliant work from Modric as the Real Madrid midfielder dances past three challenges before attempting to find the bottom corner, but it smashes off the outside of the post. Wow.

Barcelona want a penalty as Pepe challenges Neymar inside the box, but the referee points for a corner. It was a risky challenge from the centre-back there is no question about that. Barca pressure.

Adriano tries his luck for Barcelona after finding some space outside the box, but his effort is straight into the arms of Casillas. Real Madrid attempt to break moments later, but it comes straight back with Pedro. Barcelona look the team more likely to win it with little over five minutes of normal time remaining.

GOAL! Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid (Bale)

OH MY WORD! Stunning, just stunning from Bale. The Welshman uses his pace to drive past Bartra down the left before cutting into the box and finishing into the bottom corner. Just incredible.

SUBS! Real Madrid make their first change of the match as Illarramendi enters the field in place of Di Maria. Barcelona also use their bench to replace Bartra with Sanchez.

CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Real Madrid to seal the trophy as Benzema finds some space inside the Barcelona box before driving one towards the bottom corner, but Pinto is on hand to make the save.

SUB! Real Madrid make their second change as Casemiro replaces Isco, who has had a really super game in the middle of the pitch.

Time is running out for Barcelona. The Catalan outfit attempt to force the issue with a low cross towards Pedro, but Pepe is on hand to clear at the vital moment. How much time will be added?

POST! WOW, WOW, WOW! Neymar goes through for Barcelona, but his effort smashes against the post before dropping into the arms of Casillas. Good grief what a miss!

SUB! Third and final change for Real Madrid as Varane replaces Benzema.

The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the third of those. Modric clashes with Alves in the Barcelona half, which halts the play once more.

Possession football for Barcelona, but they just cannot find a way through as another cross is cleared by Pepe. Time is almost up here!

FULL-TIME: Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid


Wow. Incredible scenes at the Mestalla as Real Madrid win the 2014 Copa del Rey with a 2-1 win over Barcelona. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to remain with us for all of the reaction. An incredible night of football once more. What now for Barcelona?

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Gareth Bale of Real Madrid CF duels for the ball with Sergio Busquets of FC Barcelona during the La Liga match on October 26, 2013
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