Stade de France hosted the final of the 2022 UEFA Champions League on Saturday evening and what a night it was!
Putting aside the incidents that happened outside of the ground prior to kick-off, it was a memorable evening for Los Blancos which marked the night that they made history by being crowned champions of Europe for the 14th time.
Many were expecting a goalfest on Saturday similar to the four we saw when the two sides met in the 2018 Champions League Final. However, Vinícius Júnior scored the only goal of the night to win the match for Real Madrid but he was far from the only hero on the pitch for the Spanish giants.
Thibaut Courtois put in a performance to remember and possibly one of the best in any Champions League final to date.
Despite having 23 attempts on goal, 9 of which were on target, Liverpool were unable to put the ball past the Belgian shot stopper and in reward was awarded the Man Of The Match.
Liverpool took control of the game from kick-off which restricted Real Madrid to counter-attacks in search of chances in front of goal. However, these were few and far between with Ancelotti’s side not registering a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes compared to Liverpool’s 5.
The La Liga champions didn’t lose faith and were unlucky not to go 1-0 up on the brink of half time when this season’s top scorer in the competition, Karim Benzema, put the ball past Liverpool’s Alisson in the 43rd minute only for VAR to rule it offside after no less than five minutes of debate.
The second half got underway in a similar fashion to the first with Klopp’s side being far the more dangerous side in front of goal and continued to test their opponents defensive capabilities which have been questioned somewhat this season.
Right-back Daniel Carvajal, who put in a solid and determined performance, was especially impressive and handled Liverpool’s Díaz extremely well. However, it was Courtois who again stole the show in the second half, producing four excellent saves to keep the score all square.
When a game is 0-0, no matter how each team is performing, the game is wide open and considering how dominant Liverpool were on the night, this was a great position for Madrid to be in heading into the final half an hour of the game.
It was in the 59th minute that Real Madrid took one of only a handful of chances they were able to muster up on the night and it was Vinicius Junior who slotted the ball into the net past Allison from Feberico Valverde’s stinging ball across Liverpool’s box.
Madrid had a huge chance to extend their lead against the run of play in the 76th minute when Casemiro found the ball land at his feat with only the goalkeeper to beat but the central midfielder opted an attempted pass which went horribly wrong.
Along with recording their 14th Champions League title – double the number Inter Milan have achieved in second place – Real Madrid’s victory on Saturday night in Paris means that manager Carlo Ancelotti becomes the first coach in history to win the competition four times.
Overall, it was a huge night in the La Liga clubs history and one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Fans should also not forget the journey Los Blancos have been on throughout the tournament and when you look at who they had to beat to even reach the final, it makes their victory even more impressive.
None of PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and finally Liverpool could overcome Real Madrid this year and their 14th UEFA Champions League title is fully deserved.