Rodrygo’s double steered Real Madrid to Copa del Rey glory as they defeated a valiant Osasuna 2-1 in Saturday’s final.
The Brazil forward netted twice to guide Los Blancos to their second piece of silverware this season in front of a packed Estadio de La Cartuja.
For Carlo Ancelotti’s side, victory ends a nine-year drought in Spain’s most prestigious cup competition, with Madrid having last won in 2014 during the Italian’s previous spell in charge.
But it is a tough result for Jagoba Arrasate’s Osasuna to take, after Lucas Torro’s strike had given them hope of an upset in their first appearance in a Copa del Rey final in 18 years.
Madrid lived up to the favourites tag inside two minutes as Rodrygo swept Vinicius Junior’s dynamite cutback past Sergio Herrera.
That early concession spurred Osasuna promptly onto the offensive, with Ante Budimir forcing Thibaut Courtois into a string of saves, while Dani Carvajal had to hook Abde Ezzalzouli’s effort off the line.
2 – Rodrygo Goes is the first @realmadriden player to score a brace in a Copa del Rey final since Juan Gómez, Juanito, against Real Madrid Castilla in 1980. Stellar. pic.twitter.com/cRIMjWhK8c
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 6, 2023
David Alaba struck the bar as Madrid aimed to double their lead, with Vinicius’ hopeful appeals for a penalty falling on deaf ears on the stroke of half-time.
Madrid paid the price for those misses just before the hour mark, when Torro struck a superb low strike beyond Courtois from outside the box.
Yet Madrid recovered and, after Toni Kroos saw his shot deflected, Rodrygo was on hand to pick up the pieces and prod another finish home.
Karim Benzema was unable to add gloss to the scoreline and Los Blancos were almost punished again in stoppage time, but Carvajal made a last-ditch intervention to deny Kike Barja and ensure Madrid ended their long wait for a 20th Copa crown.
What does it mean? Madrid show mettle
Despite their status as expected victors, it was far from an easy ride for Los Blancos, who found themselves harried at every turn by their determined opponents.
This season in LaLiga, there has been more than one occasion where they have looked shaky under pressure, so it is to their credit that they dug themselves out of danger on the biggest stage.
It is now 20 Copa del Rey titles for Madrid. That is 11 short of Barcelona’s record tally of 31, with Athletic Bilbao in second place on 23.
Vini’s helping hand for star boy Rodrygo
Rodrygo became the youngest player to score for Madrid in a Copa del Rey final in the 21st century, and the first Los Blancos player to score a double in the final of the competition since 1980.
Though Rodrygo wrote the headlines, the work of his compatriot Vinicius should not go unnoticed.
His assist for Rodrygo’s opener was his 19th of the season. Among players in Europe’s big five leagues, only Kevin De Bruyne has recorded more.
Vinicius also attempted 18 dribbles, the most of any player in a Copa del Rey final since at least 2010, beating the previous record, held by another Brazilian – Neymar, who set a high mark of 14 in 2017.
18 – Vinícius Júnior attempted 18 dribbles against Osasuna (9 completed), the most of any player in a Copa del Rey final since at least 2010, beating the previous record, held by compatriot Neymar Jr. against Alavés in 2017 (14/5). Vital. pic.twitter.com/O5BQXWAMyf
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 6, 2023
Torro takes it from distance
Osasuna’s hopes were roused when Torro drove home a long-range finish to take them level in the second half, cutting through the Madrid defence.
Torro’s effort made him the first player to score from outside the box in a final against Madrid since Gaku Shibasaki at the FIFA Club World Cup in 2016.
Key Opta Facts
– Rodrygo’s goal (1:47) is the earliest goal scored in a Copa del Rey since one scored by Raul Tamudo in 2006 for Espanyol against Real Zaragoza (1:32).
– Rodrygo is the ninth different player to score in Copa del Rey final.
– Vinicius has more goal involvements (41) this season than any other LaLiga player in all competitions.
– Vinicius has played 4,367 minutes for Madrid in all competitions this season. Of players in Europe’s top five leagues, only Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes (4,633) has tallied up more gametime.
– Madrid have lost only one of their 14 games in neutral venue under Ancelotti (W12 D1), scoring 35 goals in total (2.5 goals per game).
Real Madrid play Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday, while Osasuna return to LaLiga to face Almeria next Saturday.
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