It’s taken three years, but Jose Mourinho finally got one over on Barcelona. And in a big way.
Real Madrid whitewashed their eternal rivals at their own home in the return leg of the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 scoreline that continued the Catalans slide as talk will now begin of the end of an era.
Cristiano Ronaldo also finally outplayed his personal rival Lionel Messi as the Portuguese winner scored a brace while the Argentine was totally ineffective and amazingly looked lost on the pitch, as did most of his teammates.
In the 89th minute Barcelona's Jordi Alba pulled one back after a beautiful pass from Andres Iniesta, to salvage some dignity for the home team.
Interestingly enough, considering the final score, Barcelona started off stronger with Iniesta striking on goal from distance inside of one minute. A minute later Pedro Rodriguez latched on to a long ball and found Messi who blasted just wide from a tight angle. It would be the Argentine’s most dangerous play.
In the fifth minute, Ronaldo would announce his arrival into the action from a shot but only after receiving a pass from an offside position.
In the 12th minute, against the run of play, Ronaldo was set loose and one on one with Gerard Pique and confounded the Spanish international who felled the Portuguese winger and gave up a penalty. Ronaldo stepped up and drilled it home to give Real Madrid and early advantage.
After the goal, the game evened up a bit, as Barcelona seemed to give more respect to the danger of Madrid’s counter attack. Ronaldo struck couple of shots from distance but was not able to hit the target.
Messi repeatedly tried to take on what seemed like the entire defense and ended up losing possession. It was the second consecutive big game where Messi laid an egg.
In the 34th minute there was a big no call as Pedro beats two players and was rolled over by Xabi Alonso, but the referee seems to have adjudged that he was going down on his own.
In the 38th minute, Iniesta was taken down just outside the “D” of the 18 yard box, but Messi just missed as he rocketed it under the wall but just missed Diego Lopez right post.
Fabio Coentrao had a golden opportunity to seal the passage to the Copa final four minutes after halftime but his angled shot was easily saved by Jose Manuel Pinto.
Barcelona looked to be close to an equalizer in the 51st minute several chances but Lopez came up big.
In the 59th minute a classic counterattack by Real Madrid sealed the victory with Angel Di Maria taking on and flummoxing Carles Puyol before striking on goal. Pinto saved the initial shot but it fell to the most dangerous player on the pitch and Ronaldo sent it home.
Another controversial no-call for a penalty against Pedro occurred in the 63rd minute but no foul was given against Coentrao.
Raphael Varane, Madrid’s new star defender, sealed the victory with another huge goal from a corner in the 68th minute. It was his second in the tie as he scored in the first leg.
The game threatened to deteriorate when Mourinho brought on defender Pepe as he immediately tangled with Barcelona players and threw himself on the ground after being pushed.
Real Madrid will player either Sevilla or Atletico Madrid in the final of the Copa del Rey, while Barcelona loses out on its first trophy of the season.