The dreadful week in which we learned of the distasteful scheme between Rubiales and Piqué was redeemed by a magnificent Copa del Rey final between Valencia and Betis, in which both sides, each with their own style, gave everything they had to bring Spain’s oldest trophy, which still feels special, home for their fans. A game to remember, well refereed despite the difficulties, with extra-time and penalties, settled by the final spot-kick from Miranda, a young substitute, who faced the hardest moment of his short career and dealt with it like a veteran. Just after the ball hit the back of the net though he collapsed to the turf, done in by the tension of the moment. All his teammates hurled themselves on top of him.
Betis deserved Copa del Rey win
We can say that Betis deserved it. Although both sides dominated spells, they shaded it. They hit the post twice with the game at 1-1, and could complain about referee Hernández Hernández’s only error, who was extremely lenient with Guillamón, a whirlwind in the midfield who was sprinkled fouls left, right and centre. He was far too late in getting his first booking, and was let off with a second. That was the only blemish on Hernández Hernández’s report card, who in all other aspects was at the level of a fine game, in which the best of many outstanding players was Borja Iglesias, named MVP. His header to open the scoring will go down in history.
Soccer fans delighted by Joaquín’s triumph
It was heartbreaking to see Valencia’s Gayà crying in the post-match interview, and to see him heading up to get the runners-up silver plate. Valencia end up with no Cup and no European football. The deep sadness of Gayà was equalled only by the sheer joy of Joaquín, the much beloved 40-year old who took the trophy from the King of Spain, as any soccer fan not a follower of Valencia or Sevilla had hoped would happen, because he’s a delightful chap who never tires of spreading joy. A fine triumph for Pellegrini’s Betis, who still have a chance of landing the major target of fourth spot in the league that would see them in the Champions League next season.