Real Madrid is celebrating another Champions League triumph after ruining Liverpool’s day with a scrappy win in the decider.
Real Madrid has beaten Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions League final.
Kick-off in Paris was delayed by more than half-an-hour because of chaos outside the stadium and while the Reds dominated for much of the match when it finally got underway, Madrid came away with the trophy for the 14th time in the club’s history.
Vinicius Junior’s second-half strike put the Spanish giants ahead and although Liverpool peppered the goal in desperate search of an equaliser, they couldn’t beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was outstanding between the sticks.
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Having won the League Cup and FA Cup earlier this year, Liverpool was hoping to end the season with an astonishing four trophies. However, Manchester City pipped them to the English Premier League title and Madrid won the final battle on Sunday (AEST) to be crowned champions of Europe.
Brazilian winger Vinicius turned in Fede Valverde’s enticing low cross in the 59th minute at the Stade de France and Liverpool could not find an equaliser as Jurgen Klopp’s side lost to the Spanish giants in a Champions League final for the second time in five seasons.
The Anfield side will wonder what might have been had the outstanding Courtois not pushed Sadio Mane’s shot onto the inside of a post when they were on top in the first half, as they fell short of a trophy treble.
Real now have a fifth Champions League in nine seasons to go with their Spanish title, as Carlo Ancelotti becomes the first coach to win European club football’s greatest prize for a fourth time.
Ancelotti was also in charge of Real when they won the 2014 final having also triumphed with AC Milan in 2003 and in 2007, the latter victory coming against Liverpool.
The delayed kick-off may have been responsible for the slow start to the game itself, as it took 16 minutes before there was an incident of note, Mohamed Salah turning a low Trent Alexander-Arnold cross towards goal only for Courtois to save.
Liverpool were seen as favourites to avenge their loss to the Spanish giants in the 2018 final in Kyiv and they began to take control of the game.
Mane came agonisingly close to opening the scoring in the 21st minute as he skipped his way into a shooting position inside the box only for Courtois to tip his net-bound shot onto his right-hand post.
Klopp’s side, with Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara starting in midfield after overcoming fitness worries, were on top but could not turn their superiority into a lead.
Real, meanwhile, created almost nothing in the first half with Karim Benzema quiet, but their captain briefly thought he had got the breakthrough two minutes before the interval.
The Frenchman prodded home after the ball broke back to him inside the area but the offside flag was raised.
The decision to disallow the goal was upheld after a lengthy VAR check, despite Fabinho deflecting Valverde’s touch through to Benzema.
Yet Ancelotti’s side kept their nerve and were rewarded with the goal as the hour mark approached.
Valverde drove forward down the right before firing a low ball across the face of goal for Vinicius to turn it in at the far post past his Brazilian national team colleague Alisson.
Just like in 2018, Real had drawn first blood, but this time there was no need for them to send on Gareth Bale in order to ensure victory.
Courtois was superb, flying to his right to keep out a Salah curler before two saves in quick succession late on.
First the Belgian got down low when substitute Diogo Jota deflected Salah’s effort towards goal, and then he produced a strong arm to turn a Salah strike behind.
It was Real Madrid’s night.