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MADRID CLINCH THE DECIMOCUARTA!
MATCH REPORT. 28/05/2022. Javier García. Photographer: Antonio Villalba, Helios de la Rubia and Víctor Carretero
Real Madrid overcame Liverpool in Paris courtesy of a goal from Vini Jr. to enhance their legendary status in Europe.
The Decimocuarta has arrived, as Real Madrid enhanced their legendary status in the European Cup. The kings of the competition defeated Liverpool in Paris to cap a memorable campaign which has seen the side produce several epic moments that will be remembered for a very long time. A goal by Vini Jr. in the second half decided an evenly matched final, with Courtois coming to his side’s rescue and the travelling Madrid fans driving their side on at the Stade de France.
The most repeated final in the competition’s history kicked off 36 minutes late due to access issues for supporters outside the stadium. Liverpool began on the front foot and looked to press high up the pitch, while Real Madrid sat deep and tried to play on the counter and get behind the Reds’ defence. The early stages of the game saw the madridistas pinned back in their area and in the 16th minute Courtois was called into action when he got down well to deny Salah. Jurgen Klopp’s men grew in confidence and Salah and Thiago both went close from the edge of the area, while Mané came within a whisker of opening the scoring when the Madrid shotstopper somehow turned his drive onto the post (21’).
Madrid gradually managed to evade the Liverpool pressure and enjoy a bit more of the ball as the minutes ticked by. Vini Jr. continued to try his luck down the left-hand side, but without ever really troubling Alisson in the Liverpool goal. Up the other end, Salah’s headed effort found the gloves of Courtois once again (34’) and Henderson connected with a fierce drive from the edge of the box which flew well wide of the target (41’). Shortly afterwards, our team had the ball in the back of the net, but to no avail. Valverde challenged for a ball alongside Benzema in the box and a deflection off Fabinho saw it fall back at the feet of the French forward, who swept it home past Alisson. The referee immediately turned to VAR and opted to chalk the goal off, meaning the match remained goalless at the break.
VIDEO.0-1: Madrid clinch the Decimocuarta!
Madrid made the brighter start after the break as they asserted their tempo on proceedings and it wasn’t long before this approach reaped its rewards. Fede Valverde burst down the right and picked out Vini Jr. at the far post for the Brazilian to tap the ball into an unguarded net with 59 minutes on the clock. After having fallen behind, Liverpool pushed higher up the pitch and on 64’, a well-directed Salah effort drew a fine diving save from Courtois. Four minutes later, the Belgian shot-stopper once again came to the rescue to deny the Egyptian attacker.
As the contest entered the final stages, the outcome was still very much in the air. Liverpool continued to search for an equaliser, but Madrid had the chances to have put the result beyond the Reds’ reach. Courtois pulled off another stunning save to deny Salah in a one-on-one and conserve the Whites’ lead. Ceballos and Camavinga, who were introduced to offer some fresh legs, could have both doubled Madrid’s money. Meanwhile, Liverpool continued to hang balls up into the box, but there was no change to the scoreline. The final whistle was greeted with wild celebrations on the pitch and in the stands. The club’s 14th European Cup crown brings the curtain down on an impressive season that has seen our team triumph in the Champions League, LaLiga and the Spanish Super Cup.