Gareth Bale scored one of the most sensational goals of his career for Real Madrid against the toughest opponent he has ever faced, Barcelona. The Welshman took the ball in midfield, ran past a defender all the way into the area with blistering speed before sending the ball through the legs of the keeper, thus, deciding the score in the Copa Del Rey Final, 2-1.
Real Madrid opened the scoring and ended it after Marca Bartra‘s header was sandwiched by Angel Di Maria and Bale’s strikes. The winners tried to play a counter-attacking style which worked to perfection, but their patience sometimes ended up hurting them as Barcelona practically created a house in the final third.
Madrid’s defense played a focused game where everyone managed to keep their tempers under control for the most part — besides some yellow cards for arguing, meaningless fouls and unnecessary actions. The fact that no one was ejected showed that they showed patience and believed in the task at hand.
The biggest news of the night was the fact that Real won the game 2-1 without Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed the match due to injury. Without their superstar, they managed to defeat a Barcelona side that was without Gerard Pique in the center-back position. Frankly, Ronaldo would have missed some chances and perhaps scored one whereas Pique would have played tight defense while getting away with some dirty plays.
With this win, we learned two new things about the winner: Madrid can win without Ronaldo against the best, and Bale is showing a lot of promise as the future superstar in the Spanish capital. Both players are focused on winning games on their own if they have to, but Bale does not mind sharing the spotlight more often than the Portuguese international captain does. When playing together, defenses do have trouble containing them both, but since the two still have not formed an unmistakable dominance, it is hard for them to produce against the better sides.
Now that one title is in the books, Real Madrid can still find a way to win the league title in addition to the Champions League. Since Ronaldo is returning soon, Bale will not have to carry the team on his back like he managed to do in this one towards the end of the 90. Together, they can cause quite a bit of trouble against Spanish opponents as well as Bayern Munich in the UCL semifinals.