The evening on the Saint-Denis plain stretched late into the night, and it took a long time to find out the identity of the new European champion. At the end of a Champions League final on Saturday May 28, which started 36 minutes late due to crowd movements at the entrance to the Stade de France, Real Madrid won against in Liverpool (1-0) and won the fourteenth C1 in its history. Dominated throughout the game, the Merengues were able to turn their backs and sting when necessary by Vinicius Jr on the hour mark (59th).
How could it be otherwise? After achieving one of the most stunning runs in the history of the Champions League, eliminating Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City on the wire, could Real Madrid really pass up the opportunity to win this final? This time, Carlo Ancelotti’s players did not have to go through any crazy emotions but still made their 20,000 supporters present in the stadium experience intense ones.
As against Paris, as against Manchester City, Real suffered. But held on. Even when he was pushed to his very last limits, for five long minutes in which the Reds pushed, from the first quarter of an hour. The pace then kicked up a notch and Liverpool secured five hot spots in the space of five minutes. Including a recovery from Mohamed Salah (16th) and one from Sadio Mané (21st), both repelled by an impassable Thibaut Courtois.
9 – Thibaut Courtois recorded nine saves against Liverpool tonight, the highest tally for a goalkeeper in a #UCLfinal since this data is available (2003-04), surpassing Alisson in 2019 and Edwin van der Sar in 2011 (both 8). Savor.#LIVRMA pic.twitter.com/Psp2CRONwv
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) May 28, 2022
When Real Madrid are not helped by providence, as in their previous rounds, they can count on the Belgian goalkeeper, perhaps the best goalkeeper in the world today and named man of the final on Saturday evening. After Real’s opener, Courtois disgusted the Liverpool attackers, including Diogo Jota (80th) and especially Mohamed Salah (64th, 69th, 82nd), with very classy saves.
Among the eleven Madrid outfield players, we could therefore highlight the performance of Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian, scorer on a service from Federico Valverde on the hour mark (59th), was absent from the debates for a good part of the meeting , well taken by the French Ibrahima Konaté. But when the latter dropped him, the Brazilian perfectly applied Real’s game plan, taking advantage of the defensive largesse of Trent Alexander-Arnold on the action of the goal.
Another great actor expected on Saturday evening, Karim Benzema did not produce a masterpiece, as is often the case recently. But the French thought, for a moment, to be the hero on the Madrid side on Saturday evening, just before the break. At the time, it was another Habs who caught everyone’s eye. First French referee at the whistle of a Champions League final since Michel Vautrot in 1986, Clément Turpin was scrutinized for long minutes by the 80,000 people present at the Stade de France.
During this endless wait, the French official listened to his colleagues in the video refereeing, before giving his decision: Benzema offside, while others would swear that the French striker was not. In many ways, Liverpool appeared to be the better side on Saturday. Dominating – 24 shots to 4 -, intense, constantly on the move and showing great collective strength. An observation shared by Jürgen Klopp, the coach of the Reds, who did not hide his bitterness: “We missed a goal, regardless of the type of goal. It’s like that, you have to accept it, it’s hard to swallow but you accept it.“
The English fans, who experienced the greatest difficulties in accessing the stadium – not the best advertising two years from the Paris Games, but remember that the French capital had three months to organize this final, when a city usually has 18 – therefore experienced a second disappointment in less than a week. Last Sunday, they still thought they could win the Premier League.
As in 2018 in kyiv, they lost in the Champions League final against Real and will therefore have to be content with two trophies won this season (FA Cup, League Cup), after having come up against a wall, that from Madrid. This Real is definitely unsinkable and has just completed one of the most incredible courses in the history of the C1. His supporters understood this and howled their joy at the final whistle and the delivery of the Cup to the big ears.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) May 28, 2022
One more for Real, the fifth in eight years. The fifth also for Karim Benzema, who is getting ever closer to the Ballon d’Or. And the fourth for Carlo Ancelotti, who becomes the first coach to obtain such a record in the Champions League. Real, which was not one of the favorites for the final victory at the start of the season, has once again proven it: it is the biggest club in the history of the C1, and even when it seems dominated, on the edge from the abyss, he manages to come out of it brilliantly.