Real Madrid secure their 14th European title with a 1-0 win over Liverpool
Real Madrid became European champions for the 14th time after beating Liverpool 1-0 in a Champions League final that started 37 minutes late on Saturday due to disruptive crowd problems outside the Stade de France.
Brazilian winger Vinícius Júnior scored a close-range finish after a Federico Valverde shot went over goal in the 59th minute and secured a win that gave Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti a record fourth European title.
While Madrid completed a Champions League La Liga double, Liverpool ended a season that promised so much – a week ago struggling for an unprecedented quadruple in major trophies – with just the two domestic trophies in England.
The English team couldn’t get past Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who deflected Sadio Mane’s shot to the post in the first half and saved Mohamed Salah’s shot even better in the 81st minute.
“Today nobody would stand in my way,” said Courtois. “I definitely wanted to win a Champions League.”
Vinicius dropped to his knees and covered his face full-time. Many of his teammates sprinted across the field to celebrate in front of Madrid fans at one end of the stadium.
Marcelo, Madrid’s streak of trophies, who didn’t even play a minute in the final, was given the honor of hoisting the trophy to a backdrop of fireworks and a treadmill.
Madrid underscored their status as the king of European football as the Spanish giants have twice as many European titles as No. 2 on the list, AC Milan.
And this time, the Spanish giants didn’t need a rousing comeback as they edged past Paris Saint-Germain, holders Chelsea and Manchester City in the knockout stages.
It could be the most grueling title fight in the competition’s long history.
For many, particularly Liverpool fans, pre-game crowd problems overshadowed this final and will surely be the focus of an investigation by UEFA and the authorities in the coming days.
Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray at fans who waited in long lines to get into European football’s flagship match, the kick-off of which was postponed.
UEFA blamed the chaos on people trying to get into the stadium without valid tickets, without giving details of where they might have come from.
“In the run-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end were blocked by thousands of fans who bought counterfeit tickets that didn’t work in the turnstiles,” UEFA said in a statement.
Some fans climbed fences surrounding the stadium to get inside. Others pushed past security and sprinted onto the concourse before being wrestled to the ground.
Riot police officers with batons and riot shields ran from gate to gate to prevent crowds of fans from entering the stadium.
“I have really bad asthma and have been tear gassed twice,” Liverpool fan Angela Murphy told The Associated Press through a fence. “I really fight.”
A delay was announced about 15 minutes before the scheduled kick-off at 9 p.m. local time. It was greeted by Johlen at the stadium.
The scenes were reminiscent of the chaos outside Wembley Stadium before last year’s EURO final between England and Italy.