18 May 2013
It was not to be. Finals are often decided on the finer details and all of them went against Real Madrid. Three shots against the woodwork and a shot blocked by Juanfran on the line took the match to extra time following the first half in which Cristiano Ronaldo put the Whites ahead and Diego Costa levelled the match. Five minutes before the end of the first half of extra time a goal from Miranda gave Atletico the win. The chances that continued to come Real Madrid’s way, some of them whilst playing a man down following Cristiano Ronaldo’s sending off in the 109th minute did not produce the result that the team deserved, both for how they played and the opportunities that they created, and instead hit the post or were stopped by an inspired Courtois.
Real Madrid and Atletico fought for the last title of the season in Spain. They did so in the stadium which has hosted the most Copa del Rey finals. A unique setting for a top level derby. The Whites started the match dominating possession and with a suffocating press that prevented Atletico playing the ball out of the back. In fact, as soon as Atletico took the kick-off Real Madrid won the ball and then went on to have about two minutes of possession that could only be broken down with fouls. It was no wonder then that the first shot on goal came from the team that were playing as the home side. Cristiano Ronaldo's shot was took a deflection off of a defender but Courtois made the stop without any problems in the 5th minute.
The balance on the scoreboard tipped the Whites’ way a minute before the quarter hour mark. The connection between Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo once again worked to perfection. The German took the corner and Portuguese put his team in front with a header. The goal came in the same way, from a prodigious header, and had all the same characteristics as the decisive goal in the 2011 final at Mestalla. Real Madrid were ahead, but there was still a lot of the match to play. The goal spurred on Atletico, who pushed their lines forward, turned up the pressure a few notches and scored ten minutes before the end of the first half. Falcao with the assist for Diego Costa who scored with a shot into the far corner. Diego Lopez touched the ball, but it hit the inside of post and went in. Back to square one.
The post played a role in Atletico’s equaliser and also in Real Madrid not going in at half time with the scoreline in their favour. A beautiful Ozil volley from the edge of the box came back off of the woodwork in the 43rd minute. The start of the second half did not see much change compared to the first half. Bad luck once again frustrated the Whites, as they found the post again in the 60th minute. The move was started by Cristiano Ronaldo and culminated in Benzema’s shot. As if to emphasise even more the Whites’ lack of luck, Juanfran blocked an Ozil shot on the line. Then, to top it off seven minutes later, for the third time, the post prevented the home team going ahead from a free-kick taken by Cristiano Ronaldo. Remarkable. The finer details decide finals and Real Madrid, who deserved much more, looked to have everything going against them.
The final went to extra time and Real Madrid had to do without Mourinho’s guidance, who was sent to the stands by Clos Gomez in the 77th minute. The Whites made reinforcements for extra time and changed three players: Di Maria, Higuain and Arbeloa replaced Modric, Benzema and Coentrao. It became an uphill struggle in the 98th minute. A Koke cross was flicked into the net at the near post by Miranda. Things were looking even tougher. Higuain had the chance to equalise in the 105th minute, but his volley was saved by Courtois with his left leg. In the second half, the Belgian goalkeeper, who was the hero for the visiting team, shone once again in a one-on-one with Ozil in the 109th minute. Five minutes later Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off and Real Madrid, despite being a man down, kept trying until the end. It was not to be.