Angel Di Maria tamed the aging lion at the heart of the Barcelona defense in the decisive sequence of Real Madrid's 3-1 win in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal.
After receiving a long outlet pass from Sami Khedira in the 57th minute, Di Maria shook down the 34-year-old Barcelona captain, leaving him behind on the turf as he headed for goal. Although Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Pinto blocked Di Maria's shot, the rebound was controlled by Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portugeuse striker cooly converted the direct chance, staking Madrid to a 2-0 lead in the second leg of the semifinal and a 3-1 aggregate advantage. Ronaldo had opened the scoring on Tuesday night with a converted penalty in the 13th minute. A third Madrid goal in the 68th minute, courtesy of a Varane header, would effectively clinch the Merengues a spot in the Copa del Rey final.
Jordi Alba's late goal for the home side would produce the final 3-1 scoreline (4-2 aggregate), but Madrid never surrendered control of the match from the moment that Di Maria's ridiculous change-of-direction move at pace forced Puyol into a split.
Not only did Madrid's second goal irrevocably alter the tone of the match, it sparked a "split" meme on Twitter that won't likely make Barcelona fans take this loss any easier. Of course, a quick look at the league standings may suffice to brighten the outlook of supporters of the Catalans.
When Carlos Puyol decides to be a Kung-fu Master,instead of a football Player. twitter.com/Dominic777775/…
— Dominic (@Dominic777775) February 26, 2013
WESH PUYOL twitter.com/You_Gladiabeur…
— Younes (@You_Gladiabeur) February 26, 2013
— Tiisetso Mosiuoa (@AbandonedOne) February 26, 2013
— Footy Memes (@FootyMemes) February 26, 2013