Champions League Final: Thibaut Courtois shrugs off Liverpool challenge to help Real Madrid clinch 14th title

Real Madrid beat Liverpool to clinch their 14th Champions League at the Stade de France on Saturday evening owing to a lone goal from Vinicius Junior in the 59th minute.

Real Madrid who were put under a lot of pressure in the early minutes of the game, held off the pressure from Liverpool forwards and managed to come clutch in the second half of the game.

A repeat of the 2018 final, Madrid showed maturity after being overrun by the work rate of the English team and slowly changed the tempo in their favour. The midfield generals Tonis Kroos, alongside Luka Modric, controlled the park with their steady passing making the hapless Liverpool team run all over the park. However, the real hero of the game was Belgian Thibaut Courtois, who made a record nine saves in the Champions League final to keep Real Madrid alive throughout the crucial tie.

Mystical Vinicius Junior

Vinicius Junior broke the deadlock in the night when the football got very messy between the two teams. The young Brazilian tapped in a Fede Valverde cross to send Liverpool packing in the 59th minute of the game. It was an important strike not only because it won them the game, but also because Jurgen Klopp employed his entire defence to stop the 21-year-old. Both him and Benzema were cramped up for space in the left flank of the Real Madrid attack and had to come clutch to deliver. Benzema did so late in the first half, but his goal was disallowed.

Vinicius has seen a lot of stick from the fans for not being able to finish moves over the past couple of seasons, but this season has been a different story. The Brazilian made a late run behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and tapped home a very important goal.

Man of the match Courtois

If Real Madrid have one player to thank for their in tonight, that cannot be Vinicius Junior. Yes, he scored the goal, but it would have accounted for nothing if Courtois would not have saved eight shots off Liverpool players in the first seventy minutes of the game. The Belgian has been at his best throughout the season and he was on top of his game once again, positioning himself against Salah’s header or getting a fingertip off Sadio Mane’s shot in the early minutes of the game.

When things got more intense, Courtois flung himself around the box to make crucial saves keeping Madrid alive and ultimately winning the game.

This would be a special win for Real Madrid, who were not given a chance at the start of the season. Carlo Ancelotti’s men not only won the LaLiga at home but defeated the likes of PSG and Manchester City to make it to the finals of the Champions League, where they defeated Liverpool by a slender margin of 1-0 on Saturday evening in Paris.