Thursday, 3 February 2011

Match Report: Real Madrid 2 Sevilla 0

FT: Real Madrid 2 (Ozil 80, Adebayor 90 +3) – Sevilla 0
Real Madrid ensured that for the first time in 21 years the Copa del Rey final will be a Classico with a breathless, if not breathtaking, 2-0 victory over Sevilla.

Following a 1-0 win for the 17-time winners at the Sanchez Pizjuan last week many thought tonight’s encounter would be nothing but a formality. Yet, it was anything but in a hard-fought first half.

Real started the game with a high-tempo synonomous with Mourinho’s most successful sides over the past few years. The return of Xabi Alonso alongside Sami Khedira in midfield helping to put the Sevilla midfield under pressure and the hosts should have been ahead inside five minutes.

After Angel Di Maria’s left foot shot had been parried by Javi Varas, Karim Benzema was left with an open goal. However, in what was to be the first miss in a night of comically poor finishing by the Frenchman, he managed to stroke the ball wide.

Thereafter, Sevilla grew into what became a half litered with free-kicks and yellow cards. Alvaro Negredo coming closest for the visitors when his smart finish was ruled out for offside on 10 minutes – replays showing it was an extrmely close call.

At the other end, Sevilla had Varas to thank again for keeping the scoreline blank, this time denying Ronaldo from a one-on-one following a flowing counter-attack involving Ozil, Benzema and Di Maria.

The second half was a very different affair as both sides evacuated midfield – allowing the match to take on the appearance of a game between school kids, played at 100 miles an hour. However, the pattern was to prove much more to the home side’s liking as they consistently exposed Sevilla’s ludicrously high line.

Benzema further displayed his exhibition in how not to finish; firstly, by running the ball out of play after turning Sergio Sanchez, then firing over after a long ball had found him behind the Sevilla defence and, finally, by somehow manging to turn the ball over from three yards after Ozil and Ronaldo had done brilliantly in the build-up.

Ronaldo was then unlucky to be ruled offside from another Ozil slide-rule through ball but eventually the holders suicidal offisde line caught up with them. After seeing those in front of him fail time after time, Ozil showed his strikers how to do it. Played through by compatriot Khedira, the German cooly rounded Varas and tapped into the empty net.

With the Bernabeu now in party mode Benzema was removed (arguably, putting the Madristas in even greater party mood but that would be too harsh after all he did do this in the first-leg) to allow Emmanuel Adebayor his home debut. Within two minutes the former Togolese international had been cynically taken out by Sanchez and the game had what it most deserved – a red card. Sanchez’s second yellow the seventh of the evening in what was an ill-tempered affair.

Only a further two minutes had passed when Adebayor showed Benzema the way to goal (and it should be noted made Mourinho a very happy and smug man of the touchline - yes, even more than usual). The Manchester City loanee controlling Lass Diarra’s cross expertly on his chest before firing a thunderous volley into the roof of the net.

The 3-0 aggregate win allows Mournho to continue his excellent record in domestic cup competitions and his current employers to head back to the final after an eight year absence. Set your diary for April 20th, another meeting of Spain’s two titans awaits.

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