Real Madrid beat Liverpool, wins 14th UEFA Champions League title

Liverpool were the slight favourites on Saturday but Real Madrid beat the Merseyside club for the second time in a row after their 3-1 victory in 2018.

uefa.com

Real Madrid secured a record-extending 14th European Cup when they beat Liverpool 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday in Paris.

The game started after a 35-minute delay following incidents outside the stadium.

That was when fans were tear-gassed by riot police as people without tickets tried to force their way into the Stade de France.

Vinicius Junior scored just before the hour with Real Madrid’s first attempt on goal and their goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made several fine saves to deny Liverpool.

The result meant that Liverpool ended the season with two domestic cups having also failed to win the English Premier League.

In a battle of European heavyweights, Juergen Klopp’s side had more chances.

But they lacked sharpness when it mattered as Carlo Ancelotti became the first coach to enjoy four European Cup triumphs.

Ancelotti won the trophy with AC Milan and Real Madrid twice, leapfrogging Liverpool’s Bob Paisley and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane.

“I am a record man. I had luck to come here last year and have a fantastic season.

“A fantastic club, a really good squad with a lot of quality and mental character,” said Ancelotti of a team who came from behind against Paris St-Germain (PSG), Chelsea and Manchester City to reach the final.

It was the LaLiga title-holders’ fourth UEFA Champions League crown in seven years as they improved their impressive record in the competition with their eighth victory in as many finals.

Liverpool were looking for their seventh European Cup triumph but in spite of their best efforts they were left in awe of Courtois’s sublime performance.

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“In the dressing room nobody feels it was a great season at this moment,” said Liverpool manager Klopp, whose team beat Chelsea on penalty kicks in the FA Cup and League Cup.

“We played a good game, not a perfect game, but I don’t think a perfect game would have been possible the way the opponent was set up with a deep formation.

“We had a lot of shots but not the clearest and Thibaut Courtois made two top saves.”

The final was to be played in St Petersburg but European football governing body UEFA relocated it to Paris after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation”.

Liverpool had won the previous European Cup final both teams had played in Paris, winning 1-0 at the Parc des Princes in 1981, which was Real Madrid’s last defeat in a final.

Liverpool were the slight favourites on Saturday but Real Madrid beat the Merseyside club for the second time in a row after their 3-1 victory in 2018.

Liverpool started the game by pushing high up the pitch, looking to quickly feed their full-backs, and the pressure on the Real Madrid backline became immense.

Mohamed Salah was picked out by Trent Alexander-Arnold in the penalty box but Courtois stretched to deny the Egyptian.

Sadio Mane came much closer when he ghosted past Eder Militao and Casemiro before his fierce attempt was tipped onto the post by the excellent Courtois in the 21st minute.

Liverpool, however, were not incisive enough in attack and Real Madrid’s only chance of the first half gave Liverpool a huge scare.

But Karim Benzema’s effort was ruled out.

This was after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) ruled that he was offside, being played in by Federico Valverde in spite of Fabinho’s deflection.

Liverpool were back at it early in the second half but Real Madrid soaked up the pressure until they struck in the 59th minute.

It started when Luka Modric turned smartly away from Andy Robertson to create space.

It ended with Valverde’s pinpoint driven pass across to the far post being turned in by Vinicius.

Courtois then dived to superbly tip Salah’s curled attempt away to keep Real Madrid ahead.

The Belgian goalkeeper was impeccable again to deny Salah 10 minutes from time before his delighted teammates jumped into his arms to show their gratitude at the final whistle.

Klopp says hurting Liverpool “will come again” as Real Madrid celebrate

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool’s players were hurting after their UEFA Champions League final match defeat to Real Madrid on Saturday in Paris.

But he declared the Reds “will come again” after the narrow reverse.

Klopp added next year’s final in Istanbul was already a target, advising supporters: “Book the hotel!”

A 1-0 loss to Real Madrid at the Stade de France meant Liverpool were left with FA Cup and EFL Cup triumphs.

That is what they have to show for a season in which they threatened an unprecedented quadruple.

Manchester City denied them the English Premier League (EPL) title on the competition’s dramatic final day last Sunday.

Now, it was UEFA Champions League specialists Real Madrid who toppled them on Saturday to claim their 14th European crown, with Vinicius Junior netting a second-half winner.

“Everyone in the dressing room, nobody feels it was a great season at the moment,” Klopp said after the loss. “We probably need a few minutes for that, maybe hours.”

He said two decisions had gone against Liverpool by “the smallest margin possible,” but did not specify which incidents he was referring to.

“We played a good game, not the perfect game,” Klopp added. “We had a lot of shots but not the clearest, only three or so where [Thibaut] Courtois made top saves.

“Then we conceded a goal… Vinicius was there and that was it.”

Klopp said Liverpool tried “absolutely everything” after he had told his players to “be more brave in the second half.”

Vinicius struck just before the hour mark, and Liverpool huffed and puffed.

But they were not at their best as Real Madrid repelled the threat of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, with Courtois outstanding as the last line of defence.

The Belgian made nine saves in the match, the most on record by a goalkeeper in a single UEFA Champions League final (since 2003/2004).

Klopp added he was alone among the Liverpool contingent in being able to put the game swiftly into perspective.

“It’s not hard. I have that already, but I’m the only one in the dressing room,” he said.

“I know it’s not the success you want to have, but I have the strong feeling we will come again. That’s how it is, because the boys are competitive.

“We have an outstanding group together and will have again an outstanding group next year. Then we go again. We obviously have to try a bit more often than others but no problem.

“Where’s it next year? Istanbul? Yeah, book the hotel.”

Police make 68 arrests amid UEFA Champions League final chaos in Paris

Police in Paris said that 68 people were arrested in the French capital after the UEFA Champions League final match, which saw Real Madrid defeat Liverpool 1-0 on Saturday.

In the early hours of Sunday, the Paris Police Prefecture said that it carried out 68 arrests in connection to the match.

Local media also cited authorities reporting that 238 interventions were carried out by firefighters for minor injuries.

Earlier the police force had stated that “a number of supporters without tickets for the match obtained fake tickets and disturbed the access to the Stade de France”.

The police added that these fans’ pressure to make it into the stadium resulted in a nearly 40-minute delay.

Organisers first explained the delay with security issues and then with fans arriving late.

UEFA said that “the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles.

“This created a build-up of fans trying to get in. As a result, the kick-off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access.”

UEFA confirmed that police dispersed fans with tear gas.

It added: “UEFA is sympathetic to those affected by these events and will further review these matters urgently together with the French police and authorities, and with the French Football Federation (FFF).”

Liverpool meanwhile said they have “officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues.”

 

 

(dpa/NAN)

 

 

 

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