What could be a better love story than Real Madrid and their beloved trophies? One of the greatest clubs of all time, Real Madrid signifies everything a champion is. The courage, the panache, the persistence and the confidence all these qualities embody Real Madrid’s style of play. A team nobody wants to face, a team nobody dares to belittle, that is Real Madrid for you folks. Conquering their 14th UEFA Champions League this Saturday, Madrid has taken their reputation to a whole new level. In an evenly-contested match between Spain’s most successful club and England’s most successful club, it looks like Spain had a heavier hand.
Ancelotti’s Madrid and Klopp’s Liverpool both arrived in Paris with a desire to rule Europe. Even as the match began, both sides looked equally contested.
The difference between the sides came to light in the second half. In the first few minutes of the second half, Liverpool looked complacent, and Madrid’s forward line didn’t let this chance slip away. Madrid picked up every loose ball to a dreadful counter. Their efforts were admonished by a strong trio of Alisson, Van Dijk, and Konate. In the 59th minute, Federico Valverde carried the ball into Liverpool’s half. Karim Benzema took along a threatening Virgil van Dijk with him, while Valverde attracted the attention of Robertson and Keita. Ibrahima Konate had to fill in for the gap left by his CB partner. What he ended up doing was creating a small blind spot for himself and the goalkeeper.
One of the key match-ups of this UCL final was Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Vinicius Jr. Vinicius has been Madrid’s best counter-attacker this season. Valverde noticed the hole in the defence and passed a lovely low cross directly to the spot. Vinicius managed to escape Arnold’s guard and hit a banger in the net. Alisson stretched every fibre of his body to limits but couldn’t manage to touch the ball.
The Damage was done. Vinicius struck. With 30 minutes left, Liverpool was trailing 1-0. But that wasn’t disheartening. Knowing Liverpool’s deadly offense, fans were confident that a goal would come sooner or later.
‘That’ Goal never came. Liverpool’s forwards missed buckets of chances in the first half and were following the trend in the second half. Klopp sent in Firmino and Jota to increase the opportunities, but they proved to be useless at best. Mo Salah was listless, while Sadio Mane didn’t have any space to breathe. Adding to their misery was a perfect night for Thibaut Courtois. Madrid’s defence made no mistake either.
Prior to the ultimate battle, Mo Salah was quite talkative about ‘getting a revenge’ or how he is the ‘best right winger’, but conclusively he failed on the biggest stage and when his team needed his magic the most, i.e, the finals of the UCL. Jurgen Klopp could do nothing but watch in the misery as his players lacked the winning mentality. Before the match, nearly 50% of the fans predicted that Liverpool would win, contrasting to a mere 20% of Madrid believers. The rest were hoping for a draw and Extra time drama. Madrid has always been the favourites in an UCL final, but this time they won it as an underdog. This game has exposed some of the significant defects in the Reds for next season, something they must cover very soon. Stay tuned with The Sportsway for more updates.