And then there were 10

And then there were 10

Atletico beat Madrid to claim tenth King’s Cup after both sides finish final a man down

Atletico Madrid ended a 14-year winless run against Real to capture the Copa del Rey title on Friday,coming from behind to win 2-1 in extra time after its city rivals’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho were sent off. Atletico claimed its first win over Madrid since 1999 when Brazilian defender Miranda headed in Jorge “Koke’’ Resurrecion’s cross in the eighth minute of extra time. It was Atletico’s 10th Copa del Rey title and first since 1996.

“This is for our fans that have suffered for 14 years,’’ Atletico’s captain Gabi Fernandez said. “I think this team worked hard for this and deserved it.’’ Ronaldo appeared to have put Madrid on its way to yet another vicory over its crosstown rivals when he headed in a goal in the 14th minute. But Atletico refused to fold and Radamel Falcao set up Diego Costa to level 10 minutes before halftime.

Mourinho was sent off for protesting in the 76th. Likely heading back to England in the offseason,he is set to finish his last campaign in Madrid without a title. Ronaldo received a straight red card for kicking Gabi in the face in the 114th,setting off a sideline scuffle between the benches.

Atletico also ended the match with 10 men when Gabi was sent off seconds before the final whistle for a second yellow card. Following years of frustration and accumulated doubt after failing to beat Madrid in 25 games since 1999,Atletico had to overcome an opening goal by Ronaldo. “Incredible,’’ Falcao said,on the point of tears. “We are so happy for this win. We have to enjoy this.’’


Ronaldo,who scored an extra-time winner to beat Barcelona and give Madrid the 2011 title,looked set to play the starring role once again. But the Portugal forward let the emotion of the game’s final minutes get the best of him,hurting his side when he left it a man down just when it most needed his help.

Ronaldo’s 55th goal of the season came from a ball that Mario Suarez lost near midfield that led to a corner kick for Madrid. Luka Modric curled the ball into the area for Ronaldo to jump over defender Diego Godin and head the ball just beyond Courtois’ reach.

But unlike so many times before,Atletico held firm and continued to hold its own. That paid off when Falcao and Diego Costa linked up to finish off a counterattack. Falcao held off Raul Albiol’s tackle,spun with the ball to avoid Sami Khedira,and placed a perfectly weighted pass for Diego Costa to run clear and drive a left-footed strike that ‘keeper Diego Lopez could only touch onto a post before the ball found the net.

Missed opportunities

Madrid came alive after Atletico equalized,and Mesut Ozil went inches from a second goal a minute from halftime when he volleyed a loose ball off the right post. The tension increased in the second half both in the stands and on the pitch,as Madrid began to tilt the action toward Atletico’s area and soon had two golden chances in the 61st when Karim Benzema fired a loose ball off the upright. Ozil then pounced on the rebound and with Courtois off line seemed sure to score,but defender Juanfran Torres blocked his shot on the goalline.

In the 68th it was Ronaldo’s turn to curse the goal frame when he fooled the defensive wall by slotting his free kick at the edge of the box under Suarez as he jumped,only to see it crash off the post. With Mourinho gone,Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka made all three changes at the start of the additional period,with Gonzalo Higuain,Angel Di Maria,and Alvaro Arbeloa going on.

Even though Madrid had the fresher legs,it was Atletico that surged back in front for good. Lopez saved Diego Costa’s back-to-back tries in the 95th,but he couldn’t stop Miranda from meeting an out-swinging cross to score at the near post by nodding the ball under the goalkeeper and into the net to send the fans clad in red and white into ecstasy.

Madrid wasn’t done and only Courtois’ goalkeeping protected its lead with one-on-one stops to deny Higuain in the 104th and then Ozil in four minutes into the second added period when he stretched to deflect the Germany midfielder’s close-range shot over the bar.