Regardless of the football team you support, it’s fair to say that the Champions League final is always a thrilling and nerve-wracking encounter to anticipate. Today, European juggernauts in Real Madrid and Liverpool collided at the Olympic National Sports Complex where Los Blancos won the game 3-1 and clinched the prestigious title.
From the very first kick of the final, there was a noteworthy amount of intensity as both sides had good chances at goal. However, Liverpool were the better team for a majority of the first 45 minutes with their press forcing their opponents to struggle. The Reds had quite a few good chances at goal in the opening fifteen minutes but the Madrid defence prevented any ball from going into the back of the net.
Los Blancos’ star-man, Cristiano Ronaldo, had the first top chance of the game after he was played out wide by Dani Carvajal. The Portuguese man did well to accelerate inward but decided to shoot at goal as opposed to crossing it, as expected the ball went straight over the bar.
With a few more good chances here and there, the biggest talking points of the first-half came in the next twenty minutes as Mohamed Salah and Dani Carvajal were forced off with injuries. The former suffered a shoulder injury after an exchange with Sergio Ramos while the latter was brought off with a suspected hamstring injury. It’d be a massive shame if either player is to miss the World Cup that kicks off in less than a month.
Adam Lallana and Nacho were brought on as their replacements.
The Spanish side came close to opening the scoring towards the end of the half as a Ronaldo header was saved by Loris Karius with Karim Benzema scoring from the rebound. However, the linesman made the right decision to call off the goal as both men were in offside positions.
In the second half, Los Blancos started off the better of the two sides with Isco seeing his thunderous strike hit the crossbar after the first few minutes. Minutes later, the defending champions controversially grabbed the first goal of the game after Benzema tapped the ball home whilst Karius was attempting to throw the ball out. The Reds responded quickly, though, as a James Milner corner was met by the head of Roberto Firmino with Sadio Mane tapping the ball into the net.
Just after sixty minutes, Isco was brought off for Gareth Bale. The Welshman had an instant impact for Madrid as he scored a breath-taking overhead kick minutes later. Marcelo was the man to cross the ball into the box and the 28-year-old did exceptionally well to score the way he did. It was the type of goal that you’ll look back on in ten years time and remember just how incredible it was.
To keep up with the intensity of the game, the Reds came very close to a second equaliser once again from Sadio Mane. The Senegalese winger did well to find space after cutting in from the right side and saw his low-driven shot smash the bar.
To kill off the game, Gareth Bale had a good chance at goal from more than 40 yards out and struck it with some force. The Liverpool keeper, Loris Karius’ failed to parry the ball and his poor save rebounded behind him into the net.
Despite starting the game tremendously well, Liverpool just didn’t have enough in them to win their 6th Champions League. Had Mohamed Salah not been forced off with injury and Karius letting his team down, the game could have been completely different for the Reds.
Real Madrid become the second ever team to lift the Champions League on three separate occassions.