West News Wire: Real Madrid won the Champions League for the 14th time after defeating Liverpool 1-0 in a final that began 37 minutes late due to troubling crowd concerns outside the Stade de France near Paris.
Vincius Jnior of Brazil scored from close range in the 59th minute after Federico Valverde’s blast across the face of the Liverpool goal, giving Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti a record fourth European Cup championship.
While Real Madrid achieved a Champions League-La Liga double, Liverpool completed a season that held so much promise. It was in contention for an unprecedented quadruple of major trophies just a week ago, with the two domestic cups in England.
The English team couldn’t find a way past Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who tipped Sadio Mane’s first-half shot onto the post and produced an even better save to turn away Mohamed Salah’s effort in the 81st minute.
“Today nobody was going to get in my way,” Courtois said.
“I was going to win a Champions League no matter what.”
Vinicius sank to his knees and covered his face at full-time. Many of his teammates sprinted the length of the field to celebrate in front of Madrid’s fans at one end of the stadium.
Marcelo, Madrid’s serial winner of trophies who didn’t even play a minute of the final on Saturday, was given the honour of lifting the trophy to a backdrop of fireworks and ticker tape.
Madrid has cemented its status as the king of European football, given the Spanish giant owns double the number of European Cups as the No. 2 on the list, AC Milan. Liverpool stayed on six.
Pre-match crowd issues marred this final, though, and are sure to be the focus of an investigation by UEFA and authorities in the coming days.
With 45 minutes remaining before kickoff, there were still long lines of Liverpool fans waiting to be allowed into the stadium. There were also sporadic instances of fans breaking through security and sprinting onto the concourse.
The situation started to get out of hand as riot police deployed tear gas on Liverpool supporters in the lines, while some fans were seen climbing the fences.
Officers with batons and riot shields ran from gate to gate to prevent pockets of fans from forcing their way into the stadium without showing tickets.