Vinicius Junior struck the winner as Real Madrid lifted a record-extending 14th Champions League title with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in a final where the kick off was delayed due to ‘security reasons’ in Paris.
The Brazilian forward guided home Federico Valverde’s driven cross just shy of the hour after the Merseysiders had failed to find a way past the inspired Thibaut Courtois despite dominating for long periods.
The defeat means Jurgen Klopp’s side end the campaign with two domestic cups in the trophy cabinet, but have come up just short in both the Champions League and Premier League.
In contrast, Real have capped their fairytale run to the final by adding yet another European crown to the La Liga title.
Chaotic scenes which saw thousands of Liverpool fans stuck outside the ground led to a lengthy delay to UEFA’s showpiece occasion with reports of fans being tear-gassed by police.
When the game did commence it was Liverpool who dominated and Sadio Mane saw a superb strike brilliantly tipped on to the post by Courtois.
Real Madrid struggled to create anything of note until moments before the interval when Karim Benzema had a goal controversially ruled out for offside.
Liverpool continued to pose the greater threat following the interval but it was Real who stole in front when Vinicius finished off a devastating counter attack on 59 minutes.
The Reds pushed for an equaliser for the remainder of the contest but could not find a way past Courtois who produced one of the finest performances of his career to lead his team to victory.
The final scoreline is all that matters in finals. In the pre-match media conferences Courtois stated that when Madrid get to finals, they win them. They were bold words but he backed them up with a big, big performance. The Belgian keeper was the foundation of this victory that capped a run to the final where they somehow came through knockout ties against the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City. You could call it fate but it was also typical Real Madrid and shows just why they have more European Cups than anyone else. This competition is in their DNA.
For Liverpool, it was a night to forget. Their fans were poorly treated ahead of kick off and you can expect more of that story to develop in the hours and days that follows this final.
It was a 63rd game of the campaign for Klopp and Co but they couldn’t find the ruthless streak in front of goal to turn a fine season into a truly magnificent one. The Reds will no doubt come again but there will certainly be a feeling of what might have been given their dominance in the match as a whole and how close they came to pipping Manchester City to the English top-flight title.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid). Thou shalt not pass. The former Chelsea keeper was truly magnificent as he produced save after save to keep Liverpool at bay.
LIVERPOOL: Alisson 6, Alexander-Arnold 7, Van Dijk 7, Konate 8, Robertson 7, Thiago 7, Fabinho 7, Henderson 6, Diaz 6, Mane 7, Salah 7. Subs: Jota 6, Keita 6, Firmino 7.
REAL MADRID: Courtois 10, Carvajal 8, Militao 8, Alaba 8, Mendy 7, Casemiro 7, Kroos 7, Modric 7, Valverde 8, Vinicius Junior 8, Benzema 7. Subs: Camavinga n/a, Ceballos n/a, Rodrygo n/a.
16’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Salah does well to spin and flick an attempt towards the corner from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low pass, but Courtois is alert and is down to his left to keep it out.
21’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Mane tip-toes past two in the box and rifles in a low shot that hits the inside of the post and stays out. Courtois got the slightest of touches!
35’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Trent AA clips another dangerous ball into the middle for Salah but the Egyptian’s header is too close to Courtois.
43’ – REAL MADRID GOAL RULED OUT! Benzema catches Liverpool’s high line out. He races into the far right of the area but fails to put the ball away. Konate and Alisson make a hash of trying to clear the loose ball and it bounces back to Benzema again, who lashes it into the back of net. However, the Frenchman is behind Alisson so the flag goes up for offside. VAR checks for what feels like an eternity to see who knocked it back towards Benzema… It was an inadvertent touch off Fabinho which means it is offside. That’s a let off for the Reds.
59’ – GOAL! – Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid. Vinicius Junior arrives unmarked on the left side of the area to tuck home Valverde’s driven cross.
64’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Salah cuts in from the right and curls a fine effort towards the far corner, but once again Courtois pulls off a good stop to deny Liverpool.
69’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Jota nods Henderson’s deep cross back across goal for Salah who can’t quite steer past the inspired Courtois from a narrow angle.
82’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Keita smashes a first-time shot well wide after Firmino had cut it back from the left byline. He had time to pick his spot there.