Incredible! Real Madrid secures 14th UCL title amidst controversies and mixed feelings before match day

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Real Madrid won the Champions League for the 14th time with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the final at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday.

Vinicius scored in the 59th minute following a low cross from Federico Valverde on the edge of the 18-yard box, with Liverpool unable to hit the back of the net, thanks to a fantastic performance from Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Karim Benzema scored from an offside position on the edge of the six-yard box just before halftime, but the goal was controversially disallowed after the Video Assistant Referee ruled that Fabinho had unintentionally redirected the ball to the striker’s feet.

Madrid’s triumph means Liverpool have been denied both the Premier League and the Champions League at the final hurdle, after winning the Carabao Cup and FA Cup this season.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid finished the season with two titles, having won the La Liga title for the 2021-22 season earlier this month. While coach Carlo Ancelotti has become the first manager in history to win four Champions League titles.

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“In a news conference yesterday, I stated that Madrid always wins in finals”, Courtois told reporters after the match. “I was a part of history’s positive side. I was expecting a lot of tweets saying I’d be humbled today, but it was the opposite. “

“Today I needed to win a final for my career, for all of the hard work I’ve put in to get respect for my name, which I don’t believe I receive enough of in England. Even after a successful season, there was a lot of criticism.”

The game was postponed for 30 minutes due to tumultuous circumstances outside the stadium, as thousands of Liverpool fans were trapped and police used tear gas on them.

As the game’s original kick-off time approached, video footage on social media showed massive groups of supporters outside the Stade de France, with vast numbers of Liverpool fans unable to enter the stadium.

Despite being injury doubts in the week preceding the game, Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho both started.

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Early on, Jurgen Klopp’s team dominated possession, invading the Madrid goal and forcing Courtois into several diving saves.

In the 16th minute, Salah glanced a low cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold only for Courtois to deny him, and Sadio Mane followed up with a drive into the left bottom corner that the Madrid goalkeeper tipped into the post with his outstretched arm.

Salah was a lonely figure in the first half, allowing only a few half-chances, while Madrid suffered even worse, with only one shot on target in the first 45 minutes.

Just before the break, Benzema thought he had broken the deadlock when he scored after a scramble in the area, but a lengthy VAR probe confirmed the referee’s ruling that he was offside.

In the second half, Liverpool continued to probe the Madrid goal, but Madrid held firm until Vinicius broke the deadlock in the 59th minute with an easy finish.

The 1-0 winners would have Courtois to thank who kept Liverpool at bay, most notably with a brilliant save from Salah on the right-hand side of the 18-yard box to send the ball past the far post.

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