Real Madrid pip Liverpool to UCL title

UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid have been crowned UEFA Champions League winners for a 14th time with a 1-0 win over Liverpool in the final on Saturday night.

Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho passed fit and featured in the Reds midfield as Ibrahim Konate partnered Virgil Van Dijk in defence, whereas Madrid had David Alaba fit again and thus started him.

A delay of more than 35 minutes marred the clash between these two heavyweights, but the Reds were first to threaten after Mohamed Salah’s snap-shot in the area forced Thibaut Courtois into a sharp save.

Liverpool provided another potent threat after a few minutes where a powerful first-time shot from the edge of the area by Salah forced Courtois to another clever save, as Madrid struggled to hit first gear.

Courtois was put to work again a little to the midway period of the first half when he palmed a rasping shot in the area by Sadio Mane back off the post and smothered the follow-up too.

Madrid came alive following a subdued start and had the ball in the net minutes to halftime courtesy of a snap finish in the area by Karim Benzema off a goal-mouth scramble, but it was called for offside by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

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Los Blancos returned for the second half fired up and went ahead in the 59th minute through a first-time finish at the far post from Vinicius Junior following a low cross-field ball by Federico Valverde.

The Reds attempted to hit back five minutes later after Salah cut-inside from afar and brought Courtois to a tremendous outstretch save following a curling shot.

Courtois produced yet another guilt-edge stop minutes later as he ran across his goal-line following a delivery and smothered Salah right at the near post of the area.

Liverpool refused to lose hope and had another clear attempt from a tight angle by Salah parried by Courtois in the closing minutes, as Madrid introduced Eduardo Camavinga for Valverde.

The match became evenly balanced as full-time loomed, but in the end Madrid secured victory and a 14th Champions League title and first since 2018.

Confirmed line-ups:

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Diaz, Salah, Mane

Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Ferland Mendy, Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Vinicius Junior, Benzema

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