Vinicius draws attention with talent and controversy as Real Madrid wins their first Copa del Rey since 2014.

Vinicius draws attention with talent and controversy as Real Madrid wins their first Copa del Rey since 2014.

Rodrygo Goes’ brace boosted Real Madrid to a 2-1 triumph against Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday, clinching Real Madrid’s third title of the season.
Rodrygo put Madrid ahead in the second minute after Vinicius Junior had opened up the Osasuna defensive. Sergio Herrera denied Karim Benzema, who was once again put up by Vinicius, while Dan Carvajal cleared an Abde attempt off the line and David Alaba hit the crossbar before halftime.

Osasuna equalised early in the second half, with midfielder Lucas Torro firing low into the bottom corner, but Rodryo regained Madrid’s advantage 12 minutes later, following another Vinicius move, to clinch the victory. Real Madrid’s 20th Copa del Rey victory is their first since the 2014-13 season.

Quick response

  1. Ancelotti completes his two-year trophy haul
    Carlo Ancelotti now has a whole set. The squad has won everything in the two years since the Italian manager returned for a second stint at the head of Real Madrid, winning each of the possible titles once. The 2021-22 LaLiga and Champions League double was perhaps the most stunning leg of that complete sweep, but adding the 2023 Copa del Rey – a prize Madrid hadn’t won since 2014 – to the collection is a nice epilogue.
    This Copa del Rey will not determine Real Madrid’s season. That judgement will come soon enough in the Champions League, with Real Madrid meeting Manchester City in the semifinals beginning next week – especially given that the LaLiga championship seems to be headed for Barcelona. But, having reached the Copa del Rey final, it was Madrid’s responsibility to win it. That’s what they do, with an excellent record of 20 victories in 24 finals in all competitions over the previous decade.
    Ancelotti said before the game that he considers each final as if “it could be my last.” Given the speculations that Ancelotti is being intensively chased for other coaching roles, it seems possible that Man City will knock Madrid out of the Champions League. And if so, this was a pleasant way to go out. Madrid took an early lead, played brilliantly and produced a consistent stream of opportunities, and had the mental fortitude to respond when Osasuna came level.
    Ancelotti’s starting selection seemed correct, with an in-form, attack-minded front three backed up by the steel of Aurelien Tchouameni and Federico Valverde in midfield, while his substitutes – inserting the seasoned Antonio Rudiger and Luka Modric – helped Madrid see out the game. Whatever happens in the Champions League, Madridistas will remember this evening fondly.
  2. Vinicius was the final’s MVP and a controversy magnet.
    Vinicius Junior’s final in every way. And you have a feeling it won’t be his last. There was no time when the Brazilian wasn’t in the limelight, whether he was beating opponents, generating opportunities, or causing a halftime commotion in the tunnel.
    Vinicius wreaked havoc on the left side three times in the opening fifteen minutes. Jon Moncayola of Osasuna, who was charged with stopping him, couldn’t handle it.
    Vinicius seemed like he was going to do something every time he grabbed the ball. He came back in halfway through the first half, setting up Benzema. On 35 minutes, he cut inside and fired just wide.
    There was also time for debate. Vinicius seemed to avoid shaking the hands of the officiating crew before the game, was booked before halftime for protesting, and had to be calmed down by teammates Lucas Vazquez and Dani Ceballos, with strong words exchanged with Chimy Avila on the way down the tunnel.
    Vinicius is without a doubt one of the most exciting players to watch anywhere in the globe right now. However, it is unclear if these fights with opponents and referees are an unwanted stumbling block or part of the package. When he’s playing this well, it may not matter as much.
  3. Osasuna participates in the second-ever final
    They wouldn’t say it, but just making it to the final was enough of a reward for Osasuna. The team has never won a major championship and has only been in one prior Copa del Rey final, losing 2-1 after extra time to Real Betis in 2005.
    This showpiece appearance is proof of the club’s upward trajectory under coach Jagoba Arrasate over the last five years – a journey that began in the second division and now finds them as regulars in the top half of LaLiga – and whatever happened here in Seville, this was an uncomplicated good news story.
    Their path to the final could not have been more dramatic, as they upset champions Real Betis on penalties in the round of 16, Sevilla 2-1 after extra time in the quarterfinals, and Athletic Club 2-1 after extra time at San Mames in the semis.
    Their reaction to falling behind so early was also impressive. Some teams may have fallen when Real Madrid scored inside two minutes. Osasuna did not. They dug deep, held on, and temporarily got back into the game with Torro’s equaliser, but Madrid’s talent ultimately caught up with them.
    Beating Real Madrid wasn’t unthinkable — the clubs have drawn three times in the league in the previous two years, including at the Bernabeu last October — but it would have taken a near-perfect performance from Osasuna. This wasn’t it, but it was respectable.

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