Real Madrid celebrated a 14th European Cup victory on Saturday after beating Liverpool 1-0 in a tense Champions League final at the Parc des Princes.
The match between the La Liga and Premier League giants was delayed 37 minutes following a series of crowd-control issues outside Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France.
When it finally began, Liverpool was the more attacking side, but they were made to pay for squandering a flurry of chances in a scoreless first half, with Vinicius Jr netting the only goal of the game a quarter of an hour into the UEFA showpiece fixture’s second installment.
In the 59th minute, Vicinus Jr slipped behind the backline and losing his marker Trent Alexander Arnold, the Brazilian wonderkid slotted home past compatriot Alisson after latching on to a low-driven Fede Valverde pass and was subsequently mobbed by his teammates.
Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was impenetrable in goal, making critical saves throughout the match, including an 82nd-minute stop after a would-be game-tying shot by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. Courtois also foiled a Sadio Mané effort in the first half, which ended with Karim Benzema’s 43rd minute goal being disallowed because of an offside call.
As future Ballon d’Or hopeful Vinicius Jr. clinched his first UCL crown, veteran teammates such as Luka Modric, Casemiro, Marcelo, and Karim Benzema secured their fifth.
In the dugout, Carlo Ancelotti has now won football’s most coveted trophy a record four times as a manager after surpassing Zinedine Zidane who scooped three back-to-back Champions League titles with the Bernabeu club from 2016-2018.
After embarking on a formidable run that saw them dump out Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, and Manchester City on the way to trumping Liverpool in the final, Madrid are now seven triumphs in front of Ancelotti’s former club and nearest rivals AC Milan (7) as the continent’s kings.
Liverpool, which this time last week, nursed dreams of winning an incredible four major trophies in one season, will end the 2021-22 campaign with a pair of domestic cup titles after falling short in Sunday’s Premier League finale and Saturday’s final.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur