Real Madrid 2-1 Osasuna (Rodrygo Goes x2). Spanish Cup Champions. Here is my reaction to the final. Be sure to catch: Final player ratings, post game celebrations and quotes, and a ManagingMadrid Champions podcast.
Not many cup final opponents would make Real Madrid the nailed on favourites like a match up with Osasuna - but the mid table La Liga side had bested the likes of Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla to make the final. Real Madrid had taken care of Atlético Madrid and Barcelona themselves, and with the league well out of sight all eyes were on this game to secure some major silverware for the season. The Manchester City Champions League semi-final was looming later in the week, so Carlo Ancelotti had to manage the squad selection with those games in mind. It was a strong line-up, with David Alaba returning to play centre-back. Eduardo Camavinga started at left-back once more, with Aurélien Tchouaméni sitting in midfield. Ferland Mendy remained out through injury. Eden Hazard and Luka Modrić took a seat on the bench. Karim Benzema would lift the trophy as captain if Madrid were to win.
Osasuna may well have planned to sit back and soak up the pressure, but that idea went out of the window when Rodrygo Goes handed Real Madrid the perfect start within two minutes. Vinícius Júnior danced his way around his man before nutmegging a defender with his cross for Rodrygo to pounce on and finish low. Osasuna then switched it up to try and get back into the game, and actually carved out three good chances to equalise. Thibaut Courtois was equal to two headers, and one effort had to be cleared off of the line as the ball was lofted past the keeper and Dani Carvajal chased back to stop it. Karim Benzema entered the action with a low shot that was met by a superb save - and David Alaba hit the bar from a free-kick to keep Madrid on top. Vinícius Júnior was giving his marker a torrid time on the left, beating him for pace and skill time and time again. The Brazilian could have had a first half goal to his name as he curled a shot just over the top right hand corner of the target. Madrid made it to half time with the score at 1-0, but tempers looked to burst on the way to the locker rooms in the tunnel as Osasuna vented their frustrations. They would be going all out in the second half to make history.
Vini Jr. Rodrygo— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 6, 2023
It only took them 109 seconds to give Real Madrid a Copa del Rey final lead pic.twitter.com/UcJcXA71Ci
The second half started pretty tamely, with Madrid maintaining some decent possession. Osasuna created the first chance of the half with a headed effort over the bar. They meant business, though and managed to secure an equaliser through Real Madrid Castilla graduate Lucas Torró of all people. His world class long ranged strike made him the hero as the fans in red erupted. Fede Valverde tried to bounce back for his side but his similar effort lacked the quality of Torró’s. Osasuna could now sit back as initially planned, which could have caused problems for Madrid. Fortunately, they managed to pull the lead back as a blocked Toni Kroos shot fell right into the path of Rodrygo in front of goal. The in-form man was never going to miss from there as he made it 2-1. Alaba could have made it three, his his lofted shot from a cross hit to top of the net. Osasuna had to adjust their game plan once again, and they appeared to do this pretty smoothly - although they were unable to create much in the way of a chance for the remainder of play. Substitute Antonio Rüdiger then headed over the bar as Rodrygo was once again the creator. Vinícius Júnior should have ended the encounter with a one on one, but decision making of old took over and he made the ridiculous decision to square the ball to nobody. Osasuna did have one final effort, as Dani Carvajal made a tremendous block in-front of goal to stop a shot going straight in. After five minutes of added time, the referee stopped the play and started the celebrations for Real Madrid - who were crowned the Copa del Rey champions. Be sure to join catch all the celebratory content coming your way, and to join Kiyan for the Champions podcast. Enjoy!