The two Clasico rivals have met six times in the cup showpiece, with three wins apiece so far – Goal looks back over the games in 1936, 1968, 1974, 1983, 1990 and 2011
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer
Real Madrid 3-3 Barcelona. The Copa del Rey has produced six Clasico finals in its 112-year history and it’s all square so far, but a seventh showpiece between Spain’s two top teams is now a reality after Barca beat Real Sociedad 3-1 on aggregate to join Madrid in April’s big cup clash.
On Tuesday night, Carlo Ancelotti’s side became the first team in the competition’s history to reach the final of the Copa without conceding a single goal after advancing with a 5-0 aggregate win over last year’s winners Atletico.
But Barcelona’s route to the final was similarly impressive, with Gerardo Martino’s men winning all but one of their games on their way to the meeting with Madrid on April 19, sealing their spot in the showpiece thanks to a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad on Wednesday.
The first time Barca met Madrid in a Copa del Rey final was way back in 1936, just under a month before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
That final, however, is remembered for a stunning save by legendary goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora in what was his last game in Spain. The shot-stopper, who gave his name to the annual trophy awarded to the best goalkeeper in La Liga and is still considered one of the finest in the history of La Roja, won two Copas del Rey for Barcelona but denied his hometown team in this game, winning the competition – then called Copa de La Republica – twice with Real Madrid. His save in the final minute from Josep Escola kept the scores at 2-1 and los Blancos went home with the cup, which wasn’t played again until 1939 (when the Civil War was over).
Barcelona had to wait over three decades to make amends, but the Catalans did win the next Clasico final – and they did it at the Santiago Bernabeu. In a meeting marked by controversy, Barca took the title thanks to a sixth-minute own-goal by Fernando Zunzunegui and received what was at the time the Copa del Generalisimo from the man who gave the trophy its name, infamous Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.
The third meeting came in 1974. Madrid had lost 5-0 at home to a Johan Cruyff-inspired Barca in La Liga and were out for revenge. They got it at the Vicente Calderon. At that time, however, foreigners weren’t allowed to play in the Copa, so Madrid were without German Gunter Netzer and Argentine Oscar Mas, while Barca were unable to pick Cruyff nor Peru’s Hugo Sotil. In a one-sided encounter, Madrid went ahead after seven minutes and went on to win 4-0, with Santillana and Pirri among the scorers.
Nine years passed before the two teams locked horns again in the final of the Copa del Rey, this time in a bad-tempered encounter played in Zaragoza. Diego Maradona, subjected to some crunching challenges by Jose Antonio Camacho and Paco Bonet, set up the first goal for Victor Munoz and although Santillana levelled for Madrid, Marcos Alonso headed home to ensure the trophy went back to Catalunya. Madrid, meanwhile, were known as “eternal runners-up”, having finished second in Liga, Copa, Copa de La Liga, Cup Winners’ Cup and the Spanish Supercopa that season.
Barca won again in 1990 in a tight match which was decided by second-half goals scored by Guillermo Amor and Julio Salinas, after Madrid’s Fernando Hierro had been sent off in the first half. The trophy was the first won by Johan Cruyff as Barca boss, with the Dutchman thought be close to the sack at the end of his second season. “We needed that trophy because it was the last option we had that season,” Amor said. “At the club you heard certain things, but winning the Copa gave us confidence.” Later, the Dream Team was born.
Back at Mestalla in 2011, Jose Mourinho then claimed his first silverware as Madrid coach. After a goalless 90 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo rose in extra time to head home Angel Di Maria’s left-wing cross and seal victory for los Blancos, who finished with 10 men as the Argentine winger was sent off right at the end.
Barca thought they had gone ahead through Pedro in normal time, but the winger’s strike was correctly – though marginally – ruled offside. Pep Guardiola later said that, but for “the assistant’s good eyesight”, Barca would have won the cup. Mourinho mocked his former friend, claiming he formed part of a unique group of coaches, to which only the Catalan belonged, made up of those who criticise the officials’ correct decisions.
While a Clasico storm brewed ahead of the sides’ Champions League semi-final meeting days later and Guardiola went on to hit back with his famous press-room rant, Madrid’s Sergio Ramos famously dropped the cup from the top of the team’s open-top bus and Lionel Messi sobbed in the dressing room.
What will happen next?
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