Real Betis – Copa del Rey Champions

Juan Miranda scored the winning penalty as Real Betis beat Valencia 5-4 on a dramatic shoot-out to take the Copa del Rey trophy following a 1-1 draw.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side were the better team throughout the 120 minutes and were fully deserving of their victory, as the club lifted their first piece of silverware since 2005.

Borja Iglesias had given Betis the lead in the 11th minute, his bullet header from Hector Bellerin’s cross leaving goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili with no chance.

In a classic free-flowing encounter full of goal-scoring chances and remarkable saves, it was hard to separate the two sides who maintained a frantic pace throughout the 120 minutes.

Yunus Musah missed Valencia’s fourth spot-kick to give Betis a 5-4 win on penalties. Earlier, Hugo Duro’s 30th-minute goal had cancelled out Borja Iglesias’ opener for Betis.

Real Betis’ breathtaking win in their Seville hometown secured them their first major trophy since they won the same title in 2005.

It was a well-fought clash of styles between Betis’s possession-based, attacking mentality and Valencia’s solid defensive block and vertical speedy transitions on the counter-attack.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side dominated possession with Copa del Rey top goal scorer and final’s MVP Borja Iglesias as the main threat. Still, Valencia were a constant menace to their opponents on the counter-attack with Hugo Duro creating all kinds of trouble to Betis’ defence.

“To win this title after so many years at our town and in front our fans is a wonderful thing,” captain Joaquin told reporters in tears before lifting the trophy and becoming the first player to win two titles with Betis’ colours as he was in the field 17 years ago.

“I think it is the work of many years, of getting things little by little, building from a lot of effort. Congratulations to Valencia because if they had won they would be deserved winners, it was an amazing game.”

The 40-year-old Joaquin announced last November that this would be his final season after 21 consecutive years of top-flight football and will leave after helping his beloved Betis to win only their fourth title as they have only won the 1935 League, the 1977 Cup and the aforementioned 2005 Cup in their 115-year history.

It was also the first major trophy for Manuel Pellegrini in Spain, Intertoto Cup aside, who has now won honours in every country he has managed in apart from China.

Betis hit the post twice, and would have been livid that they could not secure a victory before spot-kicks decided the outcome.
French forward Nabil Fekir was also on the pitch for Betis. He was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad of 2018 and has often been linked to a move to the Premier League.