Real Madrid were crowned European champions for an incredible 14th time following their 1-0 win over Liverpool in the 2022 Champions League final played on May 28, 2022 in Paris.
Vinicius Junior’s second-half goal coupled with a man-of-the-match display from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois ensured Carlo Ancelotti’s side followed up their La Liga triumph with victory in Paris.
But after a night of crowd concern prior to kickoff, and debatable VAR decisions, there was plenty of controversy and discussion in the days and weeks that followed.
A team that conquered Chelsea, PSG and Manchester City en route to the final was always going to be deserving of lifting the Champions League trophy, but Liverpool will still feel unlucky not to have taken their chances in what was a chaotic night on and off the pitch in the French capital.
After a 38-minute delay to kickoff due to fans having trouble getting into the Stade de France, and then an untimely opening ceremony performance from singer Camila Cabello, the football finally kicked off.
MORE: Why kickoff time delay for Liverpool vs Real Madrid?
👑 Real Madrid’s 14th Champions League crown means they now have double the amount of AC Milan, who sit in second place with seven.
⚪️ They’ve won all of the last 7️⃣ #UCL finals they’ve reached.
𝙐𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙥𝙥𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚.#UCLFinal | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/KSMutuqE4r
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 UK 🇬🇧 (@sportingnewsuk) May 28, 2022
How Real Madrid won 2022 Champions League final
A cagey start from both sides in the opening quarter of an hour the game suddenly sprung to life when Courtois was called into action after Mo Salah’s first effort on goal tested the Belgian’s reactions from close range when the striker connected with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross.
Much of the build-up to the May 28 clash had focused on Liverpool’s front three coming up against a goalkeeper in the form of his life, and Courtois again came out on top moments later as Sadio Mane tried his luck. The 30-year-old wriggled free on the edge of the box before hammering a goal-bound shot which Courtois needed to be at full stretch to tip the ball onto the post.
Madrid’s man of the moment, forward Karim Benzema, had barely had a look in throughout the first half, but on 42 minutes showed exactly the threat he possesses. Having initially taken the ball down and toyed with Alisson, he messed up his effort, only for a poor Liverpool clearance to see the ball fall to Benzema’s feet once again as he fired it home from inside the six-yard box.
After a lengthy VAR check, the offside call on the field was upheld as Fabinho’s touch was not judged to have been deliberate. That meant that the Frenchman’s offside position was upheld. Liverpool breathed a sigh of relief as the half-time whistle soon came.
MORE: Why was Benzema’s Champions League final goal disallowed?
Liverpool started the second half with the same intent they did the first, but heroic defending by Dani Carvajal cut out Alexander-Arnold’s pinpoint cross destined for Luis Diaz’s diving header as the defender just managed to clear.
But against the run of play, Madrid took the lead in the 59th minute through Vinicius. Federico Valverde found himself in space down the right side and spotted the Brazilian arriving at the back post. The delivery was pinpoint and Vinicius tapped home to send the Madrid fans into a frenzy behind the goal.
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REAL MADRID LEAD! 🔥
Vinícius Júnior steals in at the back post to tap home from close range ⚽️#UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/owgAzrA75V
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 28, 2022
The Reds weren’t going down without a fight though. This was a team who came from behind to win each of their final three Premier League games, and shortly before Diogo Jota was introduced for Diaz on 65 minutes, Salah once again forced Courtois to pull off a smart save from his curled effort.
Klopp piled on more attacking options from the bench, but Naby Ketia’s effort from outside the box was wasteful and Salah was once again denied by hero of the hour Courtois — his brilliant reaction stop pushing the Egypt star’s right-footed strike from a tight angle away from the top corner.
Ancelotti brought on Eduardo Camavinga, who has so often been introduced in previous rounds to turn things around for Los Blancos. Now required to protect the lead. The 19-year-old did just that as Madrid held strong to once again write another glorious page in their European history books.
Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League final reaction
“In the dressing room, nobody feels it was a great season at the moment. We maybe need a few hours for that,” a disappointed Klopp said.
“It was the two decisions against us were the smallest margins possible.
“We played a good game, not a perfect game. I don’t think a perfect game is possible against an opponent set up with a deep formation.
“We had a lot of shots but not the clearest. Courtois made two top saves. We conceded a goal from a throw-in. Valverde wanted to shoot, Vinicius was there and that’s it.
“The boys tried everything, especially at 1-0 down then we played like we wanted to play before. We had our midfielders too deep. It’s [because of the] threat they are with counter-attacks. We wanted to be more brave in the second half. That’s what we said at half-time. We played around them. We should have played more in the formation than around them.
“It feels different. It’s not bad to get to the final. It’s a kind of success. Not the success you want to have.
“I have a strong feeling we’ll come again. The boys are really competitive. It’s an outstanding group together. We will have an outstanding group next season.
“Where is it next season? Istanbul? Book the hotel.”
Carlo Ancelotti’s Champions League final reaction
“I can’t believe it. We had a fantastic season. We did really well,” the Italian told BT Sport. “It was a difficult game and we suffered a lot, more so in the first half. In the end, I think we deserved to win this competition.
“We’re really happy. What can I say? I can’t say more.
“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. The season was top.
“I think we passed through really difficult games. The supporters helped us a lot in the last game. They helped us tonight. We’re happy and they’re happy.”
On Courtois, Ancelotti added: “Wow. Unbelievable. I can’t believe it.”
Speaking to CBS he said: “At the end we had the energy, the strength and the belief that we could win and we won. I have a fantastic squad, fantastic experienced players and fantastic young players.
“We have a good mix in the squad and we were able to reach a great achievement. I told you I cannot believe this, but it’s true.
“The history of Real Madrid is something magic with this competition. I think that this history helped us pass the quarterfinal and semifinal, to be able to reach the final and in the end to win.”
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