Real Madrid has captured their 14th UEFA Champions League title after knocking off Liverpool 1-0 in the final. What’s been an amazing fairy tale of a journey in this tournament has concluded with a happy ending for Los Blancos. Real Madrid is once again on top of the mountain. The club’s future looks to be very bright.
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This was a game that could have gone either way considering both clubs were more than capable of winning. Liverpool came into this match having won both the FA Cup and EFL Cup. On the other hand, Real Madrid had recently secured their 35th La Liga title. In addition, Los Blancos won their 12th Supercopa de España title in January. However, for both Liverpool and Real Madrid, there’s no title more important to them than the ultimate prize; the Champions League title. Each club was determined to bring the title back to their respective homes.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 28, 2022
What Happened to Liverpool?
It was bad luck more than anything, although Liverpool was lucky that Real Madrid had a goal nullified in the first half due to a supposed offside. Honestly, what doomed them was their inability to score a goal. Mohamed Salah had six shots on target, which is the most on record in a final in over 15 years. Interestingly enough, Liverpool has failed to score any goals in all their finals this season. A total of zero goals in 61 shots overall with 17 on target only throws salt into Liverpool’s wound. The Liverpool attack had a total of nine shots on target in this match.
Liverpool in cup finals across 2021-22 (before penalty shootouts):
17 shots on target
5.7 expected goals
— The Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) May 28, 2022
Liverpool was solid on defense for much of the game. A total of eleven interceptions and five clearances is very respectable. Unfortunately, one defensive blunder allowed Real Madrid’s Vinicius Júnior to beat Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and give Real Madrid the lead. That particular play saw Liverpool’s defense heavily mark Real Madrid’s attack and nobody on the Liverpool defense was aware that Vini Jr. was sneaking through the back door. After Federico Valverde made the pass, it was too late. Once the Liverpool defenders saw Vini Jr., the young Brazilian forward had the opposition completely off-guard at the right place at the right time. The Liverpool defense never stood a chance.
How Did Real Madrid Get the Job Done?
Resiliency is arguably their biggest factor. It is what has been their most important attribute in the tournament’s knockout stage. Real Madrid’s brilliant team chemistry helped them to work great together. Above all else, a very unique and concentrated mindset helped Los Blancos reach the final and hoist the title.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made a total of nine saves. Los Blancos’ defense registered a total of 22 clearances. Liverpool inflicted all the pressure they could, but Real Madrid found a way to fight through it. Heavy pressure has been the case for the club through the entire knockout stage; they always found a way to counter it.
Carlo Ancelotti‘s leadership also played a huge role. When his squad was in tough situations and on the brink of elimination throughout the knockout stage, the Italian legend was always able to improvise and quickly come up with a backup plan. As a result, Ancelotti is the first manager in history to win the Champions League on four different occasions.
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