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Copa del Rey: Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 0

SoccerNews in La Liga, UEFA Champions League 21 Apr 2011

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Real Madrid won their first Copa del Rey trophy since 1993 after defeating Barcelona 1-0 in extra-time on Wednesday.

Jose Mourinho’s squad also won their first trophy since 2008 at Valencia’s Mestalla, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s terrific header in the 103rd minute.

The fixture between Spain’s two biggest clubs is dubbed ‘El Clasico’, but this match was far from a classic, with Mourinho’s side stifling Barcelona with their excellent defence and a crowded midfield.

Barcelona enjoyed most of the early possession but could not break down a stubborn Real side, who had the majority of the first-half chances.

The best of those came 10 minutes before half-time, with Barcelona’s back-up goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto, who was called up to replace Victor Valdes, required to make a low save to deny Ronaldo.

Real nearly opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time when Mesut Oezil’s ball was nodded onto the post by the impressive Pepe, who could only watch as the ball bounced wide after hitting the woodwork.

Barcelona improved early in the second half and Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta went close to scoring the opener, while Pedro did find the back of the net but had his goal correctly disallowed for offside after Messi had set him up, but played the pass marginally late.

Angel Di Maria, who was fantastic for the victors, had a chance to win the game in normal time, but his strike was well saved by Pinto as the match went to extra-time.

The goal eventually came thanks to fine work down the left hand side from Marcelo and Di Maria, with the Argentine producing an inch-perfect cross for Ronaldo, who met the ball with a powerful header to delight the Madrid half of the crowd.

Barcelona tried in vain to equalise and although Di Maria was sent off for a second yellow card in the dying stages of the second period of extra time, they were too late to grab a winner.

The result was the first defeat in a final for Pep Guardiola since he took over as coach of the Catalan giants in 2008 and could give Real a psychological edge heading into their two-legged Champions League semi-final with Barca, beginning on April 27.

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