Jose Mourinho won the Spanish Cup thanks to a towering extra-time header from Cristiano Ronaldo and then declared: ‘Just keep calling me a trophy-winning coach.’ The Real Madrid boss had been accused by former Barcelona manager Johan Cruyff of being only a ‘titles manager’ and, after winning his first silverware in Spain,he said: ‘A few days ago someone called me “a coach for winning titles and not a coach for playing football”. Well, thanks very much, I like being a coach who wins trophies.’
Mourinho disappeared down the tunnel at the final whistle as his players celebrated the club’s 18th Spanish Cup. ‘The game was over and I went to the dressing room and tried to call my family,’ he said. ‘I rested a bit and let the players enjoy their moment. We were better in the first half and they were better in the second half but we came good at the end.’
The clasico cup final was a gruelling marathon for Madrid, who dominated the first half, lost control of the game in the second, and then won it in the 102nd minute with Ronaldo’s 42nd goal of the season — his first in open play against Barcelona.
The first half was a story of near misses for Ronaldo, played at centre forward and a constant threat with Mesut Ozil supplying the ammunition from midfield. He failed to get contact on to a superb Ozil through-ball and then fired straight at Pinto from the same player’s pass. With the usually faultless Sergi Busquets misplacing passes in midfield, Barca enjoyed none of their usual domination of possession.
An enraged Mourinho left his dug-out to vent his anger when Xabi Alonso took a free-kick short instead of hitting it long to Ronaldo and that summed up the game plan. But though the football was direct it was swift and effective and had Pepe’s header gone in instead of hitting the crossbar at the end of the first half it would given Madrid a deserved lead.
Barcelona were a different side after the break with Messi rejuvenated and Ronaldo looking more isolated. The Argentine’s pass sent Pedro through and the Spain World Cup winner wheeled away to celebrate only for the flag to go up for offside.
Mourinho reacted by replacing the tiring Ozil with Emmanuel Adebayor, who was booked immediately for flattening Javier Mascherano. Casillas then saved brilliantly from Messi, Villa and Iniesta as Madrid hung on. But they had the last chances of normal time with Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria going close and in the first period of extra time they finished the job as Ronaldo finally delivered. In the 90th minute, Pinto denied Angel di Maria with a flying tip over and the final went into extra-time where Ronaldo settled this Clasico.
Mourinho, who claimed his 18th title and has now won a trophy every year since 2003, will hope to get the better of Barca again when they meet in the Champions League semi-final.
Copyright 2011 by Suffian Yans
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