The great rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona will be duking it out in their sixth Copa del Rey final tonight, their first for 21 years. As an appetiser for round two of their 2011 quadrilogy, here’s the story of the fixture so far.
1. 21 June 1936, Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
“The standard fell a long way short of what we have come to expect from two great, historic teams who have long been known for the quality of their play.” No, that’s not El Mundo Deportivo passing judgment on last Saturday’s dull-as-ditchwater draw at the Bernabeu, but on the first cup final clash between the two sides, held just weeks before right-wing Nationalists and leftist Republicans kicked off a three-year civil war. Madrid were 2-0 up inside 12 minutes but would have been buggered without a fine farewell performance from legendary keeper Ricardo Zamora, who made an exceptional last-minute save from Josep Escola, not that anyone watching could be arsed to stick it up on YouTube, mind.
2. 11 July 1968, Barcelona 1-0 Real Madrid
By this time renamed the Copa del Generalísimo in honour of civil war victor General Franco, the competition was won by the Catalans for a 16th time, and in front of a heaving Bernabeu too. The only goal came six minutes in, Madrid centre-half Fernando Zunzunegui taking a clogger’s swipe at Rifé’s cross and slicing the ball horribly into his own net. Dubbed the “final de las botellas”, the game was interrupted on several occasions by bottle-throwing Madrid fans, incensed by a number of rejected penalty appeals. Despite the barrage and a scintillating show from Madrid livewire Amancio, a miserly Barçaheld on, skipper Zaldúa stepping up to collect the pot from the smiling dictator.
3. 29 June 1974, Real Madrid 4-0 Barcelona
Inspired by Johan Cruyff, league champions Barcelona had gubbed their old foes 5-0 at the Bernabeu in February and were tipped to prevail again. Though the Dutchman was away on World Cup duty in Germany, along with Madrid’s Gunter Netzer, he was ineligible for the final anyway, due to the competition’s briefly imposed no-foreigners rule. Barça missed Cruyff more than the Meringues did Netzer, and after Santillana’s early near-post flick had set the Blancos on the way, they killed the game with a two-goal burst just after the restart. Franco presented the cup again, this time to the right side, but would kick the bucket 18 months later.
4. 4 June 1983, Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid
Madrid’s gameplan for cup final clash No. 4 was a simple one: kick Maradona. The Argentinian was fouled 17 times in all, with this crafty Stieleke shoulder-block and these two scythinglunges both coming in a feisty first half. Battered but unbowed, he got his own back 13 minutes before the break, deliciously teeing up Victor for the opener. Barcelona’s edge-of-the-box dithering then allowed Santillana to level the score, though justice was done when Marcos Alonso propelled himself at Julio Alberto’s last-minute cross to head in a spectacular winner, a goal made doubly memorable by Bernd Schuster giving it the “up yours” to the Madrid defence.
5. 5 April 1990, Barcelona 2-0 Real Madrid
The blond Teuton jumped ship five years later, though for some reason or other Madrid fans never really warmed to him. Coached by John Benjamin Toshack, as the Spanish insist on calling the big Welshman, the men in white were expected to win here, having dominated the domestic scene for several seasons thanks to Emilio “The Vulture” Butragueño and his sidekicks. With Johan Cruyff in charge, however, Barcelona were about to embark on the Dream Team years, and once Madrid’s axeman-in-chief Fernando Hierro had been dismissed there was only one side in it. Ronald Koeman’s long-range drive set up Amor’s opener, and by the time Julio Salinas settled it, the balance of power in Spanish football had already begun to shift.
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