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Ronaldo heads Madrid to Copa del Rey glory

Cristiano Ronaldo headed the only goal as Real Madrid CF beat FC Barcelona after extra time in the Copa del Rey final while FC Porto dramatically reached the Portuguese Cup final.

Madrid have won the Copa del Rey for the first time in 18 years
Madrid have won the Copa del Rey for the first time in 18 years ©Getty Images

Real Madrid CF were proclaimed Copa del Rey winners for the 18th time after Cristiano Ronaldo's extra-time header settled a tight final against FC Barcelona at Mestalla.

Following a goalless yet intriguing 90 minutes, José Mourinho's side had enough energy to produce the game's defining moment in the opening period of extra time. Ronaldo rose above Adriano to power in Ángel Di María's excellent cross following an exchange of passes with Marcelo on the left.

Prior to that, the closest either team had come arrived when Pepe directed a header against the inside of José Pinto's upright on 43 minutes. Barcelona – winners of the competition on 25 occasions – enjoyed their best period after the restart, when they were thwarted three times in quick succession by Iker Casillas. The Spain captain denied Lionel Messi, Pedro Rodríguez and, finally, Andrés Iniesta with a spectacular tip around the post.

At the other end, Pinto's save from Di María's goal-bound shot sent the showpiece into overtime, where the Argentina winger was sent off for a second booking late on. The dismissal mattered little for Madrid held on to lift the trophy for the first time since 1993.

The most dramatic tie of the night took place in Portugal, as holders FC Porto stayed on course for the treble following an away-goals triumph against SL Benfica in the last four of the Portuguese Cup. Trailing 2-0 from the home first leg, the UEFA Europa League semi-finalists prevailed 3-1 in the return in Lisbon thanks to second-half goals from João Moutinho, Hulk and a deflected Falcao strike.

Óscar Cardozo's penalty (80) provided nothing but false hope for the hosts. The Portuguese champions, who have now won their last 12 matches in all competitions, face Vitória SC in the final on 22 May at the Estádio Nacional in Oeiras, near Lisbon.

In the week's second Coppa Italia semi-final, Urby Emanuelson's first goal for AC Milan salvaged a 2-2 first-leg draw for the Rossoneri against US Città di Palermo at San Siro. After Javier Pastore (14) cancelled out Zlatan Ibrahimović's close-range volley (4), the Sicilian side had forged ahead through Abel Hernández (53). Emanuelson then restored parity 14 minutes from time. The second leg takes place on 10 May.

Paris Saint-Germain FC, meanwhile, are one game away from retaining the Coupe de France after a 3-1 defeat of Ligue 2 outfit Angers SCO. Mathieu Bodmer (23), Nenê (51) and Guillaume Hoarau (63) were on target for visitors PSG, who play LOSC Lille Métropole in the final on 14 May – a week before they meet in the league.

Elsewhere, Legia Warszawa enjoyed a comfortable passage into the Polish Cup final, beating Ekstraklasa rivals KS Lechia Gdańsk 4-0 on the night and 5-0 on aggregate. KKS Lech Poznań await in the showpiece.

In Croatia, league leaders NK Dinamo Zagreb completed a 5-1 aggregate victory over NK Slaven Belupo in their cup semi-final. Their opponents in next month's two-legged final are NK Varaždin, who overturned a 1-0 first-leg loss to NK Cibalia by winning 3-0 in the return.

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