Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Real Madrid Win Copa Del Rey 1-0 After Extra Time

Real Madrid have claimed a huge scalp in defeating Pep Guardiola's Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final after extra time, Cristiano Ronaldo's excellent header providing the margin of victory in a closely-fought match.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona Final Score: 1-0, Los Merengues Win After Extra Time Thanks To Cristiano Ronaldo Goal

They needed extra time to do it, but Real Madrid have defeated their biggest rivals, FC Barcelona, winning by a final score of 1-0 after extra time, winning the 2011 Copa Del Rey final. Barcelona are a team that simply don't lose when they get into the finals of competitions, so, despite the talent of Real Madrid and the tactical aptitude of Jose Mourinho, this will be seen as a minor upset. Though their league and Champions League drought continues, Madrid have ended their three year trophy drought tonight at the Mestalla.

The winner came from Cristiano Ronaldo in the 12th minute of extra time, created by Angel Di Maria. With Barcelona's defense finally looking tired, Di Maria swung in a cross from the left hand side towards the middle of the penalty area, where it met the head of Ronaldo. He hit an absolutely brilliant, unstoppable header into the back of the net, and the rest his history.

It was a much more physical match than either team is usually involved in, with tensions flaring up after the 1-1 draw in the league, which was the first of a series of four Clasicos. Mesut Özil was the most dangerous player for Real Madrid in the first half, but the finishing simply wasn't there for Özil or for the men he set up. He set up Ronaldo brilliantly in the 12th minute, but a poor first touch allowed Barcelona to close him down. In the 20th minute, Özil missed a shot of his own. At the end of the half, the German playmaker set up a header for Pepe, but his effort hit off the post.

There were two particularly ugly first half challenges, and the referee failed to punish either. Pepe went studs up in to Lionel Messi's ankle in one incident, and in another, after a tangle between David Villa and Alvaro Arbeloa, Arbeloa got up and stepped right on Villa's ankle. Neither challenge resulted in a booking.

In the second half, Barcelona appeared to go ahead, but their goal was ruled out by the linesman. Pedro was the scorer, picking up a spectacular pass from Messi, but he was ruled off side. The replay showed that it was close, but Pedro was marginally offside and the linesman absolutely made the correct call.

Barcelona continued to pressure Real into the second half, but Iker Casillas made a series of absolutely brilliant saves to force extra time, possibly locking up a man of the match award. Two of those huge saves came in the 75th minute, when he stonewalled a Messi shot from about 25 yards, then denied a Pedro chip with his fingertips, sending it wide. Five minutes later, he made another fingertip save, this time on Andres Iniesta.

In stoppage time, Real Madrid looked as if they were going to take the lead and the victory in regulation time, but Jose Manuel Pinto had other ideas, making a fantastic save on a shot by Angel Di Maria.

Both teams looked lively to start extra time, despite the fact that both were probably exhausted, but it was Real Madrid who found the eventual breakthrough from Cristiano Ronaldo, who put his team ahead in the 102nd minute with his great header. At that point, fatigue began to set in for both teams.

If you didn't know, 120 minutes of football can get pretty tiring. Also, the longer you're involved in intense athletic activity, competing against other people, the more likely it is that you will get injured. That's exactly what's happened to Adriano of Barcelona and Ricardo Carvalho of Real Madrid, who have needed to come off due to injuries. 

In the 120th minute, Angel Di Maria received a second yellow card and was sent off, but after Barcelona failed to do anything with the ensuing kickoff, the final whistle blew to ensure that Real Madrid were the champions.

Now, with a victory and a trophy in hand, Real Madrid have the advantage heading into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, where the third and fourth legs of this incredible four Clasico series will take place.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Seydou Keita On For Sergio Busquets

With all of the superstars at Barcelona, even in defense, Sergio Busquets is often overlooked. The young defensive midfielder was one of Barcelona's best players last year and one of Spain's best players in the World Cup, and he's continued that form into this season. However, in Pep Guardiola's judgment, a player who sits deep and holds his position like Busquets doesn't do you much good when you desperately need a goal, and as a result, Seydou Keita has entered the game.

Barca almost let Real Madrid put the game beyond doubt in the 110th minute, when Pepe caught out the defense with a surprising run forward. However, Gerard Pique made a stunning last second tackle just outside of the penalty area, denying Pepe a goal-scoring opportunity. A minute later, Emmanuel Adebayor almost had an opportunity to score as well, but like Pepe, he was expertly shut down by the Barcelona defense.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Ibrahim Afellay Comes On For David Villa As Second Extra Time Period Starts

We're underway in the final 15 minutes of the Copa Del Rey final, where Real Madrid lead 1-0 through a 102nd minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, and Pep Guardiola has made a change. The tired and somewhat ineffective David Villa has come out for young winger Ibrahim Afellay, and one can only guess it was a change that was made for fresh legs. David Villa is one of the best pure goal scorers in the history of world football, and it seems like he's the kind of player you would want on the pitch when you desperately need a goal in a cup final.

Barcelona have put Real Madrid on the back foot in the opening couple minutes of the final period of extra time, and it would not be surprising to see it stay that way. Jose Mourinho's teams, historically, are not afraid to bunker in to preserve a one goal lead.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Cristiano Ronaldo Goal Has Madrid In The Lead With 15 Minutes To Go

Well that was a stunner! It looked like Real Madrid and Barcelona were destined to finish the first period of extra time scoreless, but Real Madrid have taken the lead 12 minutes into extra time, thanks to a goal by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar has come close on many occasions in this game, and based on how his team has pushed in extra time, his goal is well deserved.

Angel Di Maria provided the assist, and it's tough to decide what was better, the delivery or the finish. Di Maria played a great swinging cross from the left flank, curling right towards the head of Cristiano Ronaldo, who set up just to the right of the penalty spot. The ball came right to him and he hit an absolutely stunning header into the back of the net, giving Jose Manuel Pinto absolutely no chance to make a stop. 

Immediately after the goal, Jose Mourinho made a substitution, bringing on Esteban Granero for Sami Khedira, who played an incredible 102 minutes, covering an insane amount of distance in the process.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Cristiano Ronaldo Goes Close

Lionel Messi has continued to show off his completely unparalleled technical skill and footwork so far in extra time, but the Real Madrid defenders have continued to deny scoring chances to the Barcelona superstar. If he doesn't find the goal soon, his team could pay the price, because...

In the eighth minute of extra time, a rare giveaway by the usually flawless Xavi set up a scoring opportunity for Real Madrid. The star midfielder almost never takes a bad touch, but in this instance, he gave the ball right to Xabi Alonso in the center of the pitch. Real broke quickly, and as only Alonso and a couple of other players in the world can, Madrid's deep lying playmaker played an unbelievable through ball down the right hand side to Cristiano Ronaldo. He sprinted towards the penalty area, leaving his defender in the dust, but unfortunately for the Madridistas, the adrenaline got the better of him in the moment and he smoked his shot wide of the far post.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Great Defending Continues In Extra Time

Who doesn't like bonus football? Real Madrid and Barcelona have decided to give us an extra 30 minutes at the Mestalla in the 2011 Copa Del Rey final, since 90 wasn't good enough. As the brilliant and incredibly informed announcer Sid Lowe has noted, Real Madrid still have one substitution left, and Jose Mourinho is rumored to be saving it to put Kaka into the game for penalties.

Just like the end of the second half, the first period of extra time has begun with some absolutely spectacular defending. Marcelo made one awesome strip of Lionel Messi in the opening minutes, while the Barcelona defense stopped a nice run from Angel Di Maria. This one isn't 0-0 due to any sort of negative play, but due to stunning defending and goalkeeping. 

No one's going to argue with a great game winner (except the fans of the losing side), but this one just feels like a match destined for penalties.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Alves And Pinto Saves Barcelona, Send Match To Extra Time

What tension!

I can't say enough what a brilliant play Dani Alves made to prevent Ronaldo from likely netting the match winner. Just a tremendously alert play by Alves to not only stop the shot but not foul Cristiano and potentially give up a penalty. Very very clutch.

WHAT A SAVE BY PINTO!!

Madrid have turned up the pressure in the dying minutes of the normal time. Angel di Maria with a lovely shot from just outside the box looked destined for the back of the net, but Jose Pinto makes a finger tip save, pushing the ball just over the crossbar.

That's it! The full time whistle blows and we are going to extra time in the Copa del Rey final! What a finish to the second half as Real Madrid, who'd been seemingly dead in the water for most of the second half, had several great chances to win the match. Great individual plays by Dani Alves and Jose Pinto kept Barcelona alive.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Pinto's Big Adventure

Under 10 minutes left in the match, if we don't find a goal here we'll be heading to extra time and my fingers are liable to start bleeding. Should I be concerned about the smoke risking from my laptop keyboard?

Real Madrid are getting occasional chances to counter, but each time Barcelona are able to cut off the advance as it appears Madrid are playing more for the foul in an attempt to break up the Barca domination as opposed to trying to make a run at goal.

Madrid are getting tired as they are having to chase Barcelona and the ball all over the pitch. Mourinho has two subs left, while Guardiola has all three.

What a wild moment as Pinto came out to prevent Arbeloa from getting a free chance of goal. As the Madrid defender chased the dribbling keeper, Pinto turned and passed to Mascherano who's pass forward was handled by di Maria who is booked for a handball.

That was a dangerous decision by Pinto who despite being under tremendous pressure nearly 40 yards from his goal, was cool as you could be in preventing a Madrid scoring chance.

What a challenge from Dani Alves! Adebayor found Ronaldo free on the left and the Brazilian fullback came flying back and executed a perfect tackle to prevent Ronaldo from getting a shot off on Pinto. Tremendous reaction from Alves!

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Casillas Up To The Task Again, Denying Iniesta

Ronaldo crying as the referee ignores his plea for a foul. There as a bit of contact from Adriano, who appeared to drag his foot in front of Cristiano, but as usual, he was already in the process of going to ground sensing the foul coming. It was enough for the referee to ignore it and let play continue.

Real Madrid just can't find the passes they were getting in the first half and Barcelona is continuing to pour on the pressure. Lots of clever one-two passing from Barca as they build possession and rhythm. They have Madrid on the back foot but can they find a goal?

Iniesta gets a great pass from Messi but once again Iker Casillas is up to the task, pushing the shot out for a corner off his fingertips. If there was any doubt about Casillas being one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he's proving it again tonight. It's all Barcelona now and Casillas is keeping Madrid alive at the moment.

The pitch is titled entirely towards the Madrid goal.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Casillas With Two Tremendous Saves Keeps It Scoreless

20 minutes left as we're still looking for our first goal, one that could be the match winner at this juncture.

Barcelona is continuing to dominate possession, dropping back very deep before surging forward towards the Madrid goal. It looks like Barca is trying to force Madrid to come out as far as possible in an attempt to open up some space in the defense which has remained very compact all night.

Adebayor is shown yellow in the 73rd minute for a clash with Javier Mascherano. Adebayor was livid after the call and it looks like a bit of play acting from Mascherano there. A quite theatrical moment from the looks of it.

Two huge save from Iker Casillas keeps the game scoreless and Barcelona are starting to look dangerous now. The first saw Casillas stonewall Messi from 20 yards and the second was even better as Pedro chipped a lovely ball at the net and it's pushed wide by the slimmest of margins by a fully extended Casillas. Brilliant save from the Madrid goalkeeper there.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Casillas With Two Tremendous Saves Keeps It Scoreless

20 minutes left as we're still looking for our first goal, one that could be the match winner at this juncture.

Barcelona is continuing to dominate possession, dropping back very deep before surging forward towards the Madrid goal. It looks like Barca is trying to force Madrid to come out as far as possible in an attempt to open up some space in the defense which has remained very compact all night.

Adebayor is shown yellow in the 73rd minute for a clash with Javier Mascherano. Adebayor was livid after the call and it looks like a bit of play acting from Mascherano there. A quite theatrical moment from the looks of it.

Two huge save from Iker Casillas keeps the game scoreless and Barcelona are starting to look dangerous now. The first saw Casillas stonewall Messi from 20 yards and the second was even better as Pedro chipped a lovely ball at the net and it's pushed wide by the slimmest of margins by a fully extended Casillas. Brilliant save from the Madrid goalkeeper there.

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Copa Del Rey Final, Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011: Barca Goal Disallowed As Pedro Offside By A Whisker

In the 66th minute Messi with his first great chance just outside the box. A nice touch from Xavi set him up, but his shot is high and over the crossbar.

This half looks nothing like the first 45 minutes. Gone is the midfield control by Real Madrid and the clever runs by Ronaldo and Özil. Instead we're seeing Xavi and Messi putting their stamp on play. Lots of credit to the Madrid central defenders who have been stellar tonight, making quick decisions and stepping in to the Barcelona passing lanes at just the right moments.

Messi made a tremendous run and sprung Pedro on the left side. Pedro buried his shot past Casillas, but before the Catalans could celebrate, the linesman had his flag up, ruling the play offsides. Replay showed it was very close, but it looked to be the right call.

Emmanuel Adebayor replaced Mesut Özil in the 69th minute. Solid performance from the German tonight.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Match Is Opening Up Now

Xabi Alonso is booked in the 59th minute for a challenge from behind on Lionel Messi. Alonso was not happy with the card, but it's a foul he had to make or Messi would have been in on Casillas at full speed.

The subsequent set piece saw Messi send the ball in to the wall, a bit disappointing for Barcelona there you'd have to think. While Messi waitied for the referee to sort out the wall before allowing the set piece to go forward, there seemed to be a light or laser pointer of some kind being shined from the Madrid end in to Messi's face.

The game is really opening up at the hour mark. Madrid has lost their grip on the match and it's been all Barcelona so far in the second half. Barca haven't threatened goal yet,

Messi is booked in the 64th minute for preventing Xabi Alonso from taking a free kick. Not the smartest play from the Argentinian. The subsequent attack sees Alonso send a rocket from 25-yards out that goes wide of the goal, great chance for the Madrid midfielder.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Barcelona Starting To Look Like Themselves

We're finally seeing Barcelona play the type of game we expect from them. They've begun to get longer runs of possession and have generated a couple early corners. They're forcing Madrid to sit back a bit deeper and are not allowing them the space in the midfield to make their runs at the Barca back line.

Messi starting to get more involved as well. Some fancy back and forth passing at the top of the box between Messi and Alves is the best run of play we've seen from Barca tonight, but Madrid's defense is up to the task and prevents anyone from challenging Iker Casillas.

Guardiola has to pleased with his team's play in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

A nice run from David Villa ends in a Madrid goal kick after the forward either didn't see his teammates flying in to the box in support or was unable to get a cross off. The pace and energy level has definitely dropped off so far in the second half.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Barcelona Trying To Take Control Of The Match

Penalty shout from Barcelona as Andres Iniesta goes down in the box. Arbeloa did come across Iniesta a bit, but not nearly enough there for the referee to award a PK and to be honest, it would have been a poor call had the referee given it.

Barcelona finally starting to put some flow in to their play. While they are maintaining some pressure, they are still struggling to break in to the final third.

A giveaway from Angel di Maria nearly gives Barca a great chance, but Dani Alves can't get the ball in to box. However, Barcelona continued to possess until Khedira is fouled by Alves, a slight tug around the neck, and Madrid breaks the pressure. Madrid played the first half at an extremely high pace and you have to wonder if they can keep up the pressure and energy.

First really good chance for Barcelona sees Pedro's shot from the corner of the box go in to the outside side netting. Nice chance, but it looked wide from the moment it left his foot.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Second Half Underway

The second half is underway in at the Mestalla. It was all Real Madrid in the first half, a really masterful performance by Mourinho's side who dominated a Barcelona team that we've become used to seeing dominate their opponent. No matter what happens in the final 45 minutes (and possibly beyond), there will be no one criticizing Madrid for a lack of personality tonight.

Referee had a time of it in the first half, a lot of fouls and hard challenges. We'll have to see if he tries to crack down on things more in the second half. Can Barcelona change the game or will Madrid continue to dominate? Here we go!

Madrid looking to do all the same things right from the start and challenge with a long ball early that di Maria can't control. It's really amazing how little possession Barcelona has had in this match, considering what we're used to seeing from them.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Scoreless At Halftime At The Mestalla

An interesting and entertaining first half in Valencia as Real Madrid has been on the attack for the first 25 minutes, creating some excellent chances but failing to finish on several occasions. To say Barcelona are living dangerously, probably doesn't do the game justice at this point.

I'm struggling to recall a match in recent memory where a Barcelona side has been dominated and prevented from maintaining any real possession for an extended period of time. It's a brilliant tactical display by Mourinho's men tonight who are doing everything right except putting the ball in the back of the net.

Madrid's midfield is all over Barcelona preventing them from holding the ball, passing it around and finding space for the likes of Messi and David Villa to pick them apart. Instead, it's Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Özil who are putting on a show as they switch sides freely and continue to pressure the Barca defense.

Xavi and Andres Iniesta have been all but invisible for Barcelona and unless Guardiola can make the right adjustments at halftime, it seems like only a matter of time before Madrid finds their goal.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Pepe Hits the Post

With five minutes left in the half, Barcelona finally has their first bit of sustained possession and pressure. Barca managed to earn two corners in succession but fail to generate a shot on goal before Madrid finally ends the pressure, earning a throw in on the near side.

Starting Özil was clearly the right decision for Mourinho as the German has troubled the Barcelona defense, giving Madrid dangerous options on both sides of the pitch. Özil and Ronaldo have interchanged all night, causing fits for the Barca back line.

Pepe beat Alves on the far post and his header completely catches Pinto unaware but rattles off the post. Again, a wonderful cross from Özil set-up the chance and Pepe will be regretting that he didn't do better with that chance. 

Total domination from Real Madrid at this point as Barcelona are holding on by the skin of their teeth. Madrid will feel quite unlucky not have 2 or 3 goals at this point already.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Ronaldo Can't Capitalize on Pique Mistake

Real Madrid continues to test the Barcelona defense with quick passes to streaking wingers, so far a combination of poor first touches and offside calls have held back Los Blancos.

Pedro gets a yellow card in the 34th minute after he tangles with Ricardo Carvalho, hard to tell if the card was for the challenge or if Pedro said something after the play that the referee didn't appreciate.

Great chance for Ronaldo after a bad giveaway by Gerard Pique in the midfield allows him to streak down the right side and into the Barcelona box. Ronaldo's shot from 15 yards is saved well by Jose Pinto and it's another wasted chance for Madrid, who've dominated the entire half so far.

Barcelona looks toothless on the attack so far today as Madrid's plan has worked to near perfection, with the exception of their finishing which is betraying Los Blancos. You'd have to think Barca will be happy to get to halftime with the match scoreless at this point.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Nasty Challenge On David Villa Goes Unpunished

Real Madrid doing themselves no favors by surrounding the referee after every foul they feel was wrongly called against them. Surely the referee will tired of this.

David Villa and Arbeloa get in to it after Villa is forced to his feet by two Madrid players and doesn't appreciate it in the least. Arbeloa and Villa went down together and Arbeloa, who got up first, treaded right on Villa's ankle. Hard to tell if it was deliberate but it was ugly and he's probably lucky to still be on the pitch. After some pushing and shoving, order is restored but David Villa had every reason to be upset there.

In the 29th minute, Ozil finds a slashing Ronaldo with a lovely pass but Cristiano can't quite reach the ball and it's picked up easily by Jose Pinto. Great play from Ozil and Barcelona have been caught like that a couple times already, surely Guardiola won't be pleased about that.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Ozil Wastes Another Chance, Pepe Earns Yellow Card

Real Madrid earned their first corner of the match in the 20th minute. The cross is cleared out of the box by Barcelona, but falls right to Mesut Ozil whose shot flies harmlessly wide. Disappointing effort from Ozil who surely would have like to test Pinto for the first time in this match.

Halfway through the first half, it continues to be all Real Madrid. They've had the better possession, generated the better chances and have looked dangerous twice but were unable to convert on either chance.

Messi is dropping very deep in to the midfield to try to help Barcelona push forward and create some offensive rhythm for the Catalan side. One thing is for sure, neither side is taking a defensive stance in the match as both look to attack. You can definitely tell how important both coaches think the first goal will be today.

Madrid once again feels aggrived by the referee after they feel Mascherano got his foot up to high on a challenge. Replay shows there was nothing there.

First yellow card of the match goes to Pepe in the 26th minute for a foul on Pedro as he tried to break down the sideline. Pepe, an aggressive player, will have to be careful now.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Mourinho's Adjustments Working So Far

Sergio Busquets gets away with a really meaty challenge in the 14th minute as Real Madrid players again berate the referee asking for a yellow card for the Barca midfielder.

Barcelona does not look comfortable at all early, it's a big difference from Saturday's meeting where Barca controlled the game until the very end. Mourinho has clearly put a more aggressive plan in place for his team today and it's making a difference as Madrid is getting chances and preventing Barca from dominating possession.

Pepe gets away with a nasty studs-up challenge on Lionel Messi. Pepe probably should have been shown a yellow on that as his studs dug right in to the Barcelona forward's ankle and foot.

Barcelona earn a free kick about 25 yard out, but take is quickly rather than working the set piece opportunity. The decision yields no result as Barca are unable to generate a chance and eventually lose possession.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Ozil And Ronaldo Nearly Put Madrid In Front

Real Madrid continue to be aggressive, trying to break down Barcelona with the passing build-up method and testing the Catalans with some long ball over the top. Los Blancos are definitely trying to take the game to Barca early and not allow them time and space to operate. So far, the tactic is working well. Very physical match as well, looks like the referee is going to be busy today trying to keep things calm and keep control of the match.

Real Madrid nearly opened the scoring in the 12th minute after Ozil found Cristiano Ronaldo alone at the far post but a combination of a poor touch and weak shot allowed the Barca defense to recover and clear the ball from danger. Ozil also didn't help the situation after slightly botching the initial pass in. None the less, a dangerous chance early for Madrid.

It's all Los Blanos here at the beginning of the match.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Real Madrid On The Attack

Tensions already building as both teams surround the referee after a questionable foul is called on Dani Alves who appeared to not want to get out of Angel di Maria's way. Looks like the Madrid players wanted a card and Barcelona's players were not pleased with the call. Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique are already jawing as well.

Ronaldo's free kick finds the foot of Sergio Ramos at the far post, but it's all for not as the lineman has his flag up for an offside. Good early pressure from Los Blancos.

Barcelona finally got their possession game working properly in the 5th minute, patiently working the ball around the midfield looking for an opening. Madrid doing a good job of keeping their shape and limiting passing lanes for Barca. Xavi finds a bit of room at the top of the box, but he scuffs his shot, sending it well wide of Iker Casilla's goal.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Underway In Valencia at the Estadio Mestalla

Barcelona and Real Madrid are underway in Valencia in the final of the 2011 Copa del Rey. It's the second meeting out of four between the two rivals over an 18 day period, and with a trophy on the line, this one is sure to be a hotly contested and emotional match.

Lionel Messi is looking for his 50th goal of the season tonight.

The Mestalla is filled to capacity and the noise is deafening as the game kicks off!

Barcelona begins the match with possession, moving the ball around in the midfield...shocking I know. We've also made it past 20 second without a foul, something that happened in Saturday's meeting. A bit of a sloppy start, but Real Madrid break out first as Ronaldo draws the matches' first foul as Javier Mascherano takes him down near the corner flag.

Xabi Alonso's free kick goes well wide of the goal and doesn't threaten at all.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Real Madrid Lineup

Jose Mourinho holding nothing back as he looks for his first silverware at Real Madrid

Iker Casillas starts in goal...no surprise there really as the Spanish international has been a rock for Los Blancos all year.

Álvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho and Marcelo makes up the Madrid defense. Arbeola replaced the suspended Raul Albiol who was red carded in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Barcelona. The midfielder is unchanged from the weekend with Pepe, Xabi Alonso and Khedira tasked with dealing with Barcelona's creative trio. 

Just one adjustment up front from Mourinho as he makes one change from his weekend lineup, adding Mesut Özil alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria. The insertion of Özil early in the second half seemed to liven up the Madrid attack and it looks like he's been rewarded today for his efforts. We'll have to see if he can be as effective from the start tonight.

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Iker Casillas; Álvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho, Marcelo Vieira; Pepe, Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira; Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel di Maria, Mesut Özil.

Bench: Jerzy Dudek; Ezequiel Garay, Kaka, Esteban Granero, Emmanuel Adebayor, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: Barcelona Lineup

Just a couple changes in the back for Pep Guardiola today.

Jose Pinto gets the start in goal, which has been the norm for all of Barca's cup matches this season. There had been some speculation that Victor Valdes might get the start since this match is for the trophy, but Guardiola is sticking with his pattern and also ensuring Valdes is rested and ready for the Champions League semifinal next week.

Carles Puyol is not in the starting XI after his hamstring issues from the weekend, so Guardiola will call on Javier Mascherano to cover in the central defense next to Gerard Pique. Dani Alves and Adriano are at their usual fullback positions.

From the midfield forward, it's a familiar group for Barca with Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the midfield and Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa up front. 

Barcelona (4-3-3): Jose Pinto; Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Claro Adriano; Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta; Pedro, Lionel Messi, David Villa.

Bench: Victor Valdes; Maxwell, Carles Puyol, Gabriel Milito, Seydou Keita, Ibrahim Afellay, Thiago

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2011, Copa Del Rey Final: The Rivals Meet Again With A Trophy On The Line

Just four days removed from their league clash, Real Madrid and Barcelona meet up for the second of four El Clasicos. This time, the two rivals square off on a neutral field at the Estadio Mestalla in Valencia with the Copy Del Rey (The King's Cup) title on the line.

Wednesday's match, will be the first meeting between Barca and Real in the Copa Del Rey final since 1990, a match won by Barcelona 2-0. This is only the fifth time these two clubs have met in the 107-year history of the Copa Del Rey, with Barca having won three of the first four meetings.

Never before however has a Cup final been part of such a historic run of matches between the two Spanish giants. 

Barcelona enter the match missing only defender Eric Abidal who continues his recovery from surgery to remove a tumor on his liver. Team captain Carles Puyol, who injured his hamstring on Saturday, was given the all clear by team doctors today, while young forward Bojan Krkić is out with a knee injury.

Guardiola will also have the decide whether to play primary goalkeeper Víctor Valdés in place of backup Jose Pinto, who has started all of Barcelona's Copa Del Rey matches this season.

José Mourinho has been drawing criticism from the media and Madrid fans for his team's defensive performance at the Bernabéu on Saturday. Even Madrid's honorary president, Alfredo Di Stefano, said the Portuguese managers; team lacked "personality." The former Madrid great likened the match to a mouse playing a lion. Despite the questioning of his tactics, Mourinho has never been one of listen to criticism or sway from his plans.

Mourinho will chase his first trophy with Real Madrid without Lassana Diarra and Fernando Gago, who remain out due to injury. Madrid's versatile midfielder/defender Raúl Albiol will be out as well, serving a red card suspension for his card picked up on Saturday. Cards and suspension earned in league play carry over to the cup competition in Spain.

If Barcelona can prevail tomorrow, it would be the ninth trophy for the club since Guardiola took over in 2008. A victory would extended the club's record number of Copa Del Rey titles to 26. Real Madrid sits third all-time with 17 titles. Madrid have not won the Spanish league cup since 1993 and are playing in their first final since 2004.

Mourinho is no stranger to the Copa del Rey, having won two while serving as an assistant at Barcelona under Louis van Gaal in 1997 and 1998.

Tomorrow's match is the second meeting of four between the two clubs in an 18 day span. Match three, the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal, is a week from Wednesday in Madrid.

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