2014 Copa del Rey Final: Real Madrid: Route to the Final

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

A round-by-round recap of Real Madrid's route to the 2014 Copa del Rey final, complete with a few statistics on the campaign

Every week, Culés have one eye on the match that FC Barcelona are playing in, and the other firmly on Real Madrid. Even with Atletico Madrid leading La Liga, that’s been especially true this season. Some may have even celebrated a Real defeat more than a Barça win for instance – but just how much do we really know about our rivals? For all those who don’t obsess over everything Los Blancos, here’s a breakdown of Real Madrid’s 2013-2014 Copa del Rey campaign and their route to the final:

REAL MADRID

Round of 32: Real Madrid 2-0 Olimpic de Xativa

First-leg: Olimpic de Xativa 0-0 Real Madrid
Second-leg: Real Madrid 2-0 Olimpic de Xativa

Despite eventually reaching the final, one might argue that Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey campaign was very nearly over before it really ever began. A tie with Segunda 2B Olimpic de Xativa seemed simple and straight-forward on paper, but for a while, it was a nightmare scenario for Carlo Ancelotti. Travelling to Valencia, Madrid were expected to lay waste to their unfortunate hosts – a club with no real history who have spent the majority of their history bouncing between the regional leagues, the 3rd tier and the Segunda 2B. However, a plucky display from Xativa, probably aided by the artificial pitch kept Real Madrid at bay for the first-leg at least.

And for a quarter of an hour at least, Xativa held their own at the Santiago Bernabeu. With nine successive clean sheets to their name (nine!), Xativa might have even fancied their chances at an upset, only to be overpowered by Real’s quality as goals from Asier Illarramendi and Angel di Maria sent the Valencian club crashing out of the competition.

Round of 16: Real Madrid 4-0 CA Osasuna

First-leg: Real Madrid 2-0 CA Osasuna
Second-leg: CA Osasuna 0-2 Real Madrid

Following the experiences of their Round of 32 clash with Olimpic de Xativa, Real Madrid may have been a little relieved to be paired with La Liga opposition in the form of Osasuna in the Round of 16. Fielding a strong line-up, Carlo Ancelotti was not taking this tie lightly and his approach paid dividends. Karim Benzema got the ball rolling with an early goal, before Jese added a second on the hour mark to give Los Blancos a healthy lead headed into the second-leg in Pamplona.

Indeed, Ancelotti kept following the same approach for the remainder of the competition. Perhaps that’s testament to the squad depth he has at his disposal, although in truth it was only a few players who rotated into the team. In the second-leg, Real Madrid again started well and took the lead relatively early through Cristiano Ronaldo before Angel di Maria added a second after half-time. Not even a red card for Fabio Coentrao could do much to dampen their spirits: Real Madrid were marching on in the competition.

Quarter-Final: Real Madrid 2-0 RCD Espanyol

First-leg: RCD Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid
Second-leg: Real Madrid 1-0 RCD Espanyol

Who would have thought that our city rivals RCD Espanyol would have given Real Madrid such a tough ride in the quarter-finals? Usually, Catalunya’s second club tend to roll over when faced with a match against Real Madrid, but this time round Javier Aguirre rallied the troops and gave Madrid a real battle over the 180 minute tie. Opting for the "BBC" combination of Bale, Benzema and Cristiano, Ancelotti surely knew that his side would have enough firepower to break through the Espanyol defense – with Benzema providing the game’s lone goal just before the half-hour mark.

With that difficult first-leg in Catalunya out of the way, everyone was expecting Real Madrid to coast to a comfortable victory at the Santiago Bernabeu – and the match had everything Real needed for a comfortable win. Jese got an early goal and former Barcelona midfielder Victor Sanchez was sent off, but still Los Merengues could only emerge 1-0 winners. But who cared? Real Madrid were into the semi-finals.

Semi-Final: Real Madrid 5-0 Atletico Madrid

First-leg: Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid
Second-leg: Atletico Madrid 0-2 Real Madrid

And what a semi-final it was shaping up to be. In a repeat of last season’s final, it would be the Madrid derby – Real vs Atletico, contested once in each club’s stadium over two 90 minute matches. The neutrals were licking their lips, Barcelona were rubbing their hands together in anticipation – but Real Madrid clearly didn’t get the script. We’ve experienced it twice this season – the difficultly with facing Atletico Madrid over two legs of football – but Real were unfazed and laid waste to Diego Simeone’s side. Pepe got the opener, before Jese and Angel di Maria added a second and a third. Their performance probably deserved more, but Atletico Madrid were trailing by three goals after a disastrous first-leg.

They probably deserved better from the second-leg too. The better side on the night, Atletico still ended up on the bad end of a 2-0 scoreline as two penalties from Cristiano Ronaldo secured an emphatic 5-0 aggregate victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. Even if they rode their luck at times, make no mistake: Real Madrid deserve their spot in this final.

Overall Record

7W – 1D – 0L
13 GF – 0 GA

Top Scorers

Most Assists

Minutes

1. Angel di Maria

(3 goals)

1. Gareth Bale

(2 assists)

1. Iker Casillas

(720 minutes)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

(3 goals)

2. Angel di Maria

(2 assists)

2. Alvaro Arbeloa

(675 minutes)

3. Jese Rodriguez

(3 goals)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

(2 assists)

3. Asier Illarramendi

(603 minutes)

4. Karim Benzema

(2 goals)

4. Jese Rodriguez

(2 assists)

4. Sergio Ramos

(585 minutes)

5. Pepe

(1 goal)

5. Alvaro Morata

(1 assist)

5. Jese Rodriguez

(508 minutes)

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