Cristiano Ronaldo's extra-time header gave Real Madrid the edge over fierce rivals Barcelona in the second clásico in four days to win the Copa del Rey and seal their first piece of silverware under Jose Mourinho.
"I thought it was a great game where players worked hard, were concentrated and did what they had to do," Mourinho said. Barça are a side which is used to winning and when they didn't score they became frustrated. I was told recently that I was a great coach for titles, but not for football. I am happy to remain that way. I have won four cups now in four countries.
"We have now won one each and drawn a game this season, so who knows what will happen in the next. I don't think what happened in one game influences another."
The first 90 minutes had ended goalless, with Real Madrid on top in the opening period and Barça better after the break. However, despite the Catalans' superior possession in extra-time, Mourinho's men looked dangerous on the break and after Ronaldo had angled a low shot just wide, the Portuguese international beat Jose Manuel Pinto with a brilliant header following Angel di Maria's pinpoint cross.
Pinto started in goal instead of Victor Valdes, as he had done all the way through the competition. Meanwhile, Barcelona captain Carles Puyol was deemed unfit to start following his injury in Saturday night's 1-1 draw at Madrid in La Liga, so Javier Mascherano slotted in alongside Gerard Pique in the centre of defence.
Mourinho restored Mesut Ozil to his side after the Germany playmaker began Saturday's draw on the bench. In this, the second of four clásico meetings, with a two-legged semi-final to come in the UEFA Champions League starting next week, Mourinho kept faith with Pepe in a three-man midfield shield alongside Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso.
Alone in front
The line-up worked early on as Real Madrid pushed back Barcelona, appearing to surprise the Catalans with their dynamic start to the game. Ronaldo, playing up front as Mourinho opted to leave three forwards, Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema and Emmanuel Adebayor, on the bench, came close to giving his side the lead after 12 minutes when he beat Pinto from close range, but Mascherano hacked the ball off the line.
Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa was lucky to get away with a clear stamp on David Villa later in the half as things began to turn ugly. The defender escaped without a caution, but both Pepe and Pedro found their way into the referee's book before the interval as the two teams continued to compete close to the edge.
Madrid had the edge, though, and Pinto saved well from Ronaldo ten minutes before the interval, but the stand-in keeper was badly-positioned just before the break and was lucky to have Pepe's header rebound off the post.
"We didn't play well and control the game like we wanted to do and lost the ball a lot," Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. "We need to lift ourselves for the next games. Madrid played very well in the first half, but they performed as I thought they would. It was a similar system as at the Bernabeu, but perhaps with some different players."
Barcelona find their rhythm
Barça began the second half on the front foot, stepping up a gear following a disappointing opening 45 minutes. Pedro fired just wide, Lionel Messi blasted over the bar and the Argentinian forward was almost set up by Dani Alves as the Catalans found their rhythm.
They thought they had gone ahead after 68 minutes when Villa, who had not scored for ten games, latched onto a Messi through-ball after the Argentinian had brilliantly beaten three Madrid players, and slotted a low shot past Iker Casillas, but the assistant's flag was up and the Spain striker's effort was correctly ruled out.
Nevertheless, Barça were dominant now and that looked ominous for Madrid. Casillas made two fine saves within a minute to deny Messi and then Pedro, while the Argentinian was stopped in his tracks as he looked to waltz through the Madrid defence. But, Madrid weathered the storm and the score remained goalless after 90 minutes.
Ronaldo nods home
The first period of extra-time was dominated by Barça, but the best chance fell to Ronaldo, who raced clear down the right flank and charged into the area, only to drive a low angled shot just wide of the target. However, the Catalans failed to heed the warning and five minutes later, they were behind.
Marcelo played a one-two with Di Maria, who then sent a deep, inviting cross into the area searching for Ronaldo, who rose majestically to power home a header at the far post. Ronaldo should have wrapped it up two minutes before the end, but kept the ball in the area and his shot was eventually blocked.
Despite the missed chance, Madrid held on to seal a famous win and end a spell of almost three years without a trophy. The only sour note for Mourinho's men was Di Maria's late dismissal after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Messi.