By Andy Hall
An extra-time winner from Luciano Galletti gave Real Zaragoza a dramatic 3-2 victory against Real Madrid CF in a hugely entertaining Copa del Rey final at the Olímpico stadium in Barcelona tonight.
The Argentinian striker pounced nine minutes from the end of the additional 30 minutes, unleashing an opportunistic shot from outside the penalty area that flew past Madrid goalkeeper César Sánchez and inside the post. The Primera División leaders thought they had equalised moments later, but Raúl González's strike was ruled out for offside and Zaragoza held on for a famous win.
Zaragoza took advantage of a timid start to the game by Madrid and looked the more composed on the ball during the opening five minutes. The match quickly burst into life and continued in frenetic fashion, with a total of 17 bookings in all.
Madrid created the first real chances of the night, with David Beckham and Luís Figo both unable to score while Guti flicked a golden chance wide in the 21st minute. The deadlock was broken in spectacular style two minutes later, however, as Beckham curled a long-range free-kick inside the post.
Zaragoza were back on level terms just six minutes later with two former Madrid stars playing key roles. Savio pulled the ball back for Dani, who was free at the far post to control and shoot past a helpless César.
Zaragoza were given the chance to take the lead just seconds before half-time when Guti needlessly kicked David Villa in the penalty area. The 22-year-old striker slotted in the resulting spot-kick, sending César the wrong way.
Remarkably, the match was level again just two minutes into the second half as César Lainez could do nothing to stop a trademark Roberto Carlos free-kick, the Brazilian's effort finding the corner of the net with the help of a slight deflection. The Zaragoza goalkeeper kept his side in the game on the hour, flinging himself to tip Zinedine Zidane's header behind for a corner.
Zaragoza's task was made more difficult when they were reduced to ten men midway through the half. Midfield player Cani collected two bookings in as many minutes – first for protesting with the referee and then for a reckless tackle on Beckham. Despite the numerical disadvantage, Zaragoza looked the more likely scorers and were pressing for a winner as normal time ended.
Referee Fernando Carmona Méndez reached for his red card a second time when Guti collected a second yellow card for a trip on Galletti in the 96th minute. Zaragoza, suddenly rejuvenated, had more chances but could not take advantage - Villa shot straight at César while Juanele, with more time than he realised, saw his first-time shot skid past the post. It mattered little, however, as Galletti struck for glory.
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