Valencia win Copa del Rey

Two goals inside the first 11 minutes helped give Valencia coach Ronald Koeman a night to savour, after a miserable season in La Liga, as his men beat Getafe 3-1 in the Spanish King's Cup final on Wednesday.

Failure to win the Cup would almost certainly have seen Koeman depart company from the Spanish side, who have only won one of their last nine league games, perhaps even being sacked before the end of the season.

However, now that Valencia have ensured a return to European competition next year after lifting their seventh Spanish Cup, the under-fire Dutchman may yet have a future at the club and be able to mould it in his image.

Valencia struck quickly to take control of the game being played in Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon stadium, just a few kilometres from Getafe's home in the Spanish capital's southern suburbs.

Juan Manuel Mata put Valencia into the lead with little more than three minutes having elapsed, scoring with a bullet-like header from exactly on the penalty spot after a cross from the edge of the area by David Silva.

Getafe had only themselves to blame having left Mata unmarked and they commited the same error seven minutes later when defender Alexis Ruano raced in to head Valencia further ahead from a Silva corner.

To add insult to injury, Alexis had moved to Valencia from Getafe last summer

After the two early body blows, Getafe gradually regained their composure and started to assert themselves. Cosmin Contra headed just over the bar midway through the first half and the roving Romanian international defender earned Getafe a penalty in injury time at the end of the first half which brought them back into the game.

Valencia defender Emiliano Moretti scythed down Contra with a wild sliding tackle and on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero clinically put away the penalty to give Getafe a big boost at a crucial time.

However, Valencia demonstrated a side of their character which has not been seen too often since Koeman took over last November and refused to be too severely shaken by the Getafe goal.

Spanish international striker David Villa had two good opportunities within the first 10 minutes after the break, the latter requiring a good reflex save from Getafe keeper Oscar Ustari.

No surrender for Getafe
Granero then hit the cross bar from 20 yards out just after the hour to show that Getafe hadn't thrown in the towel. Valencia keeper Timo Hildebrand then pulled off a magnificent save to keep out Braulio Nobrega's header 10 minutes from the whistle before second-half substitute Fernando Morientes clinched the Cup for Valencia four minutes later.

Ustari could only parry away a rasping free kick by Ruben Baraja from 25 metres out and Morientes nipped forward to head home the bouncing ball.

It was a sweet moment for Morientes who finally filled the one missing space in his trophy cabinet. The former Spanish international striker had won every other club honour during his eight seasons with Real Madrid but his only Cup winners' medal was in England with Liverpool two seasons ago.

Getafe's miserable night was completed when midfielder Fabio Celestini was sent off in the dying seconds of regulation time, adding to the nine bookings that referee Alberto Undiano had made earlier.

It has been a cruel six days for Getafe and their coach Michael Laudrup.

Getafe are still searching for their first piece of silverware in club history after also being the beaten Cup finallists last season, when they went down 1-0 to Sevilla.

They looked to be well on their way to the UEFA Cup semi-finals last Thursday only for Bayern Munich to equalise with just a minute to go to make the score 1-1 and force the game into extra-time.

The Spaniards then scored twice, despite only having 10 men, only for Luca Toni to get two goals in the last five minutes to clinch the tie for the Germans on the away goals rule.