Vinicius Junior scored the only goal of the game as Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 in Saturday’s Champions League final in Paris to become kings of Europe for a record-extending 14th time.
The delayed kick-off due to trouble outside of the stadium 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.
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.
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