Real Madrid won the first of what it hopes will be three major trophies this season as Gareth Bale’s late goal proved to be decisive in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona in Valencia. The win marked the first trophy of Bale’s professional career, but the Wales international still has the opportunity to lift two more trophies, as Real finds itself second in La Liga, three points behind leader Atletico Madrid, in addition to being in the UEFA Champions League semifinals against Bayern Munich, which begin next Wednesday.
Real won the match despite conceding most of the possession to Barca and while missing star player Cristiano Ronaldo due to a hamstring injury. But Carlo Ancelotti’s men always looked dangerous on the counterattack, which is precisely how they scored both goals. With seven minutes to go and the score tied at 1-1, Bale picked up the ball in his own half, pushed it ahead of Barca defender Marc Bartra, and sprinted after it. Though Bartra tried to foul the Welshman, he still managed to beat the central defender to the ball, bring it inside the penalty area and then coolly slot it home between the legs of the onrushing Jose Pinto with his left foot.
"It's a dream come true, not just because I scored but because of the work of the whole team," Bale said. "It was really special. We've won the first of the three available titles and we have to keep fighting for everything. But now we have to be thinking about the next game and nothing else. This win is for all the fans and we hope that it will be the first of many to come. Thank you all for your support during the season. We have worked hard as a team.”