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Bale’s stunning winner

Real beat Barça to win Spanish cup

Bayern’s Champions League semi-final opponents Real Madrid have claimed their first major trophy of the season. Even without injured Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo, the men from the Spanish capital beat arch-rivals Barcelona 2–1 in the Copa del Rey final to seal the first of three possible titles this term.

Angel di Maria opened the scoring after 11 minutes and Gareth Bale struck the winner five minutes from time at the Mestalla in Valencia to secure victory over the Catalans, who had made it 1-1 through Marc Bartra in the 68th minute. In the latest edition of the Clásico, Barça held the upper hand in the first 45 minutes and set the pace of the game, but the only goal of the first half went to Spain’s most successful club in the 11th minute, Karim Benzema providing a fine assist for Di Maria to fire home off the far post.

Barcelona plugged away after the restart and Bartra headed home from a corner to level the scores. But with five minutes to go €100m man Bale set off on a remarkable run from inside his own half, shrugging off Bartra’s attempt at a professional foul and nutmegging Barcelona keeper José Pinto for what proved the winning goal. The Catalans threw everyone forward at the end but star signing Neymar hit a post with the goal at his mercy and the trophy went to the men in white.