Courtois the Hero As Real Madrid Win Controversial Final

Real Madrid Champions League

Real Madrid came out as 1-0 victors over Liverpool in the Champions League Final thanks to some heroics from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and winger Vinicius. Real have now won the Champions League a record 14 times. However, the events that unfolded before kickoff overshadows the final result.

The match initially was delayed for fifteen minutes after reports that Liverpool fans had trouble entering the stadium. As reports of the events occurring continued to surface, UEFA chose to delay the game even further, with UEFA citing fan tardiness as the reason for the problems. Yeah, right.

Eventually, Camilla Cabello gave what some on social media regarded as one of the worst pre-game shows of all time. To be fair, it can’t be easy to perform while police fire tear gas outside, but the audience was less than thrilled. The still partly-empty stadium booed and reportedly threw things.

Finally, the very-delayed match started. Early on, it was clear that it was going to be close. Liverpool dominated, but ultimately could not find the back of the net. A huge part of this was down to Real’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who made a whopping nine saves. Defenders Eder Militao and David Alaba also made crucial defensive stops to keep the clean sheet.

Real Madrid had far fewer chances, but they came up big when it mattered. Karim Benzema found the net towards the end of the half, but it wouldn’t count due to a somewhat dicey offsides call. Later, Federico Valverde found Vinicius Junior with a cross, and this time it did count as Real took the lead.

Liverpool had some decent chances to equalize, but a mixture of solid goalkeeping from Courtois and Real’s defending combined with a lack of accuracy from Liverpool meant that their score stayed at zero. After a nerve-wracking five minutes of added time, Real Madrid held on for the win.

It’s a shame that such a great game will be remembered for events unrelated to the game itself. However, this really shows UEFA’s need to improve its stadium protocol. This is now the second major UEFA final in as many years that has dealt with fan trouble and ticketless fans, with the 2020 Euro Final also causing problems. If this doesn’t change soon, it will cause injuries in the future.

Image Courtesy of Fotografías, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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