<p>Photo: Twitter / Champions League</p>

Photo: Twitter / Champions League

<p>Photo: Twitter/ Champions League</p>

Photo: Twitter/ Champions League

Vinicius, Courtois star as Real Madrid crowned champions of Europe

Match was played in Paris
Updated 29 May, 2022 04:53pm

Vinicius Junior and Thibaut Courtois starred as Real Madrid crowned champions of Europe for the record 14th time.

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 Thibaut 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.

Winners of the English League Cup and FA Cup this season, they just missed out to Manchester City for the Premier League title and were denied a victory here which would have put them level with AC Milan on seven European Cups.

Instead Real 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.

Delayed kick-off

The match kicked off 35 minutes later than the planned 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) start in the French capital after chaos at entrances to the stadium led to fans being unable to get to their seats.

UEFA said it was "sympathetic" towards those affected and put the huge build-ups of supporters at gates down to "thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles".

Tear gas was also fired by police as a small number of people could be seen trying to scale fences around the perimeter of the groud.

The final was only moved to the French capital after Saint-Petersburg was stripped of the game following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

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.

Outstanding Courtois

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.

Match updates

Full-time Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

90+5: It looks like that was the final attack from Liverpool.

Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool 88: Mane gets at Camavinga. He wins a corner, but it was straight to Cortious.

Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

80: Save again!

Liverpool are knocking at the door this time it was Jota deflects another cross shot towards goal but Courtois is there to palm it away.

76: Liverpool trying to break Real Madrid’s defence as they are reinforcing their attack with fresh legs.

Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

69: Fantastic goalkeeping from Courtois. He made another huge save in the game.

Salah comes hunting in to finish it off but Courtois uses his giant frame to block the ball away. He will not be beaten.

Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

64: Courtois denies Mohamed Salah with a superb save.

62: Yellow card! Fabinho is booked after a frustrated challenge on Valverde.

Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

58: GOAL from Vinicus Jr. This was the first real chance for the young Brazilian in the game and he made Liverpool pay.

Valverde does the hard yards down the right and sends a clever low cross in behind Alexander-Arnold.

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

55: Alexander-Arnold is causing some trouble to Real Madrid. Another superb ball in the box but Courtois reads it though and punches it away.

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

48: Excellent ball Alexander-Arnold towards Real Madrid’s back post, but Carvajal made a timely intervention with a diving header for clearance.

Second-half is underway!

Half-time: Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

39: A good battle developing between Carvajal and Diaz.

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

35: Corner for Real Madrid, which was taken quickly.

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

20: Sensational save from Courtois!

That was brilliant by Mane - and just as good by Courtois. Four shots on target already.

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

18: Liverpool are starting to get into their stride. They made three brilliant attempts on Real Madrid’s goal. So far Courtois is up to the task.

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

15: Liverpool are finding it quite easy to play out through midfield as they dominate the ball possession. There isn't much appetite to press from either Liverpool or Real.

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

10: Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois and Liverpool’s Alisson Becker are yet to be tested in the game.

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

5 Now here comes Real Madrid with Vinicius and Benzema on the left side of the pitch, but Liverpool had it covered.

Real Madrid 0-0 Liverpool

3': It is all Liverpool at the moment.

Here we go! Finally we have some football.

After the glittering opening ceremony, players are now lined up and READY to come on for the game.

Opening ceremony has begun.

Sporting celebrities came out in number for the UCL Final.

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French referee Clement Turpin will officiate the Champions League final this evening.

“I’ve refereed two French Cup finals at the Stade de France,” the 39-year-old told UEFA.

“Anyone in France who loves our game considers it as the 'French football church', because France won the World Cup there in 1998 – the national team’s first-ever major trophy. It’s a special place, to be sure.”

Kick-off delayed by 30 minutes!

According Skysports, the kick-off has been delayed by 15 minutes as the Liverpool fans are having problem in getting into the stadium.

UEFA's announcement that "the late arrival of fans" is to blame for the delay.

Both teams are out for warm-ups again.

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Huge blow to Liverpool

It seems like Naby Keita will start instead of Thiago!

Thiago Alcantara was a major doubt for the final with an achilles injury. He has been named in the team but has been in deep discussion with manager Jurgen Klopp during the warm up and working away from the main team.

Both teams are out on the pitch for warm-ups ahead of the highly-anticipated final.

Steven Gerrad teams Real Madrid ‘dangerous’

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrad has termed Real Madrid dangerous as the Reds are set to lock horns against the 13-time Champions League winners.

"It's very rare that Real Madrid are underdogs,” said Gerrard while speaking to BT Sport. “They are a very dangerous opponent. They're at full strength and they've had two or three weeks to prepare for this.

"It's not ideal [the pitch has been relaid this week] but it's the same for both teams. Both teams trained on it 24 hours ago and to me it looks fine.

"I've also heard Liverpool trained on it again this morning."

The atmosphere!

"We beat every team that were the 'favourties' against us. There are no favourites today," said veteran Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modrić.

Meanwhile at Santiago Bernabeu!

Real Madrid XI

Liverpool XI

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The numbers game

1 – Liverpool are the only team in the history to beat Real Madrid in a Champions League final. Their sole victory came in 1981, also in Paris.

1 – Real Madrid are the first team in the competition’s history to reach the final despite losing three games in the knockouts – the Round of 16, Quarterfinals and Semifinals.

3 – Real Madrid and Liverpool are the only two teams that have featured in three European Cup finals. First time the two sides met was in 1981, where the Reds emerged victories 1-0, while on second occasion in 2018, the Los Blancos lifted the trophy after 3-1 victory.

5 – Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is on the verge of equalling Cristiano Ronaldo’s record in the UEFA Champions League. The Frenchman has scored in five straight UCL knockout stage games, tied with Edin Dzeko for the 2nd-longest streak in the last 12 seasons. Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record, scoring in six consecutive knockout games for Real Madrid in 2012-2013.

7 – Benzema has scored seven goals against the Premier League clubs this season, which is most by a player in a single campaign in the Champions League history. The French international has scored has scored four in his last five games against the Reds.

17 – Real Madrid have extended their record of most, 17, European Cup final appearances. Serie A champions AC Milan and Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich are at the second spot with 11, while Liverpool will make their 10th appearance this season. This is also their eight final in the UEFA Champions League era.

1 – This is also the first time that Real Madrid came from behind to win the UCL semifinal after losing the first leg. They had been eliminated on all eight previous occasions.

2 – Rodrygo is the first player in the competition history to score in consecutive minutes of a semifinal or final game.

5 – Carlo Ancelotti now holds the record of most final appearances as a head coach. He appeared in 2003, 2005, 2007 with AC Milan; 2014, 2022 with Real Madrid. Jurgen Klopp, Sir Alex Ferguson, Marcelo Lippi and Miguel Munoz are all tied on five final appearances.

1 – Liverpool are the first English team to reach five finals in the UCL era (since 1992-93)

1 – The Reds have become the first ever English club to reach the final of the European Cup/Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup in the same season

Hello and welcome!

Fans could not have asked for a better way to end the 2021/22 season than a match between Real Madrid and Liverpool.

The two teams have been on top of their game throughout the campaign and now are all set to square off at the Stade de France.

This will be the third meeting between the two sides in the final of the European cup.

Let’s go!

Dr.Cajetan Coelho May 29, 2022 09:51pm
Upfront Vinicius Junior was a threat. Between the sticks, keeper Courtois stood like the mighty rock of Gibraltar. Congrats to Ancelotti and his footballers.