Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid: Vinicius strikes as Blancos become European champions for 14th time
Real Madrid claimed a 14th Champions League title after a slender win over Liverpool at the Stade de France.FotMob - 10 months ago
Vinicius Junior scored the decisive goal as Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 in a delayed Champions League final in Paris on Saturday.
Kick-off was pushed back by more than 30 minutes as Liverpool fans struggled to gain entry to the Stade de France, eventually taking their places to see Jurgen Klopp's men control much of the proceedings.
But Madrid got the vital goal in the 59th minute when Vinicius tucked away his fourth of this season's competition – from one of just four Blancos attempts.
Premier League runners-up Liverpool were denied by a string of superb saves from Thibaut Courtois either side of that strike, and Carlo Ancelotti's side held on to lift the European Cup for a 14th time – seven more than any other side.
Liverpool had started in confident mood following the delay and only failed to take the lead inside the opening 20 minutes courtesy of two fine stops from Courtois.
The Real Madrid goalkeeper got down quickly to keep out Mohamed Salah's instinctive effort, before he superbly pawed Sadio Mane's powerful strike onto the post.
Madrid thought they had taken the lead shortly before the interval when Karim Benzema stroked home after some slapstick defending from Liverpool, yet it was ruled out for offside against the France international – the decision confirmed by the VAR after a lengthy review.
They were not to be denied just before the hour mark, however, when Vinicius stole in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold to turn in Federico Valverde's low ball across the penalty area.
Courtois made three vital saves from Salah inside the final 20 minutes – the last of which really caught the eye – to cap a wonderful individual display and ensure Ancelotti's men claimed a record-extending triumph.
What does it mean? Madrid withstand onslaught to claim another title
Liverpool created enough chances to win a number of Champions League finals, but this Madrid side, who overcame Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City to reach the showpiece in Paris, are made of stern stuff.
Victory meant Ancelotti sealed a fourth Champions League triumph – the most by any coach in the competition's history (also Milan in 2002-03 and 2006-07 and Madrid in 2013-14) – while Liverpool are left to lick their wounds after a second consecutive defeat to Los Blancos in the final of this competition, following the 3-1 loss in 2018.
Liverpool will be cursing their luck that they came up against a goalkeeper in truly inspired form. Belgium international Courtois made a sensational nine saves to thwart the Reds – the most in a Champions League final since 2003-04.
Salah will be having nightmares about Courtois for some time. Liverpool's talisman had nine shots, six of which were on target, yet he could not find a way past the former Chelsea man.
It is not often the brilliant Egypt winger comes off second best against goalkeepers, but unfortunately for Liverpool, that was certainly the case here.
Key Opta Facts
– Only Juventus (five) have lost more Champions League finals than Liverpool (three), while no coach has lost more finals in the competition's history than Klopp (three).
– Each of the past three Champions League finals have finished with a 1-0 scoreline – as many as in the first 27 finals of the competition.
– Despite winning the EFL Cup and FA Cup this season, Liverpool have not scored a single goal in five and a half hours of football in major finals this term.
– Liverpool had 24 shots, the most on record (since 2003-04) without scoring for a team in a single Champions League final. Meanwhile, Salah's six shots on target were the most on record by any player in a single Champions League final.
– At 21 years and 320 days, Vinicius became the second-youngest player to score in the final of the European Cup or Champions League for Real Madrid, after Marco Asensio in 2017 (21y 133d).