Real Madrid are the Kings of Europe. They faced a lot doubt and were underestimated throughout the season, but the Spanish giants did not win their 14th UEFA Champions League trophy by sheer luck. On Saturday evening, Liverpool FC were the victims of slaughter once more as Real Madrid claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory at the Stade de France.

Carlo Ancelotti's men arrived in Paris after having won the Spanish La Liga title a few weeks ago. They had a lot of time to prepare against a Liverpool side that battled for the Premier League title only to lose out to Manchester City on the final match day.

Despite this, Real Madrid were seen as the underdogs in the final for some inexplicable reason. Perhaps, this was due in part to the fact that they made it through each round of the knockout stage with a series of come-from-behind victories.

Liverpool arrived with a score to settle, after having lost the 2018 final against Los Blancos in Kyiv. They felt they were robbed on that occasion due to striker Mohamed Salah's injury following a tackle from Sergio Ramos. However, the loss this season will probably leave them with an even more bitter taste in the mouth.

Salah played all 90 minutes this time, and had more than his fair share of attempts. The Egyptian challenged Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois all evening, but had nothing to show for it at the end of the match.

Sadio Mane also kept Courtois working hard all night, but it was Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema who managed to find the back of the net at the end of the first half. However, VAR disallowed the goal for offside even though every single person who had eyes could clearly see that the ball came off Liverpool midfielder Fabinho before Benzema struck past Alisson Becker.

The first half ended at 0-0 but the overall feeling was that Liverpool were in control despite the Real Madrid breakthrough. However, the second half told a different story. Los Blancos were clearly fired up after the disallowed goal, and right before the hour mark, Vinicius Junior scored the lone goal of the evening off another counter-attack. This time, there was no doubt that the goal was valid.

The Brazilian made an easy tap-in from Fede Valverde pass, and from that moment, Liverpool knew they were in trouble.

The Reds fought back, making several more attempts that gave Real Madrid fans all over the world white knuckles and sweaty brows. Jordan Henderson and Alexander-Arnold both made futile attempts before Salah forced another save from Courtois, who was easily the best player of the match.

Carlo Ancelotti was conservative in his substitutions, leaving the changes for the closing minutes of the game. There was no miracle comeback needed this time, even though pundits still insist that Liverpool dominated the game. In the end, matches, nay, championships are not won by the number of chances, and this time Real Madrid got the goal that mattered despite making only two shots on target including the disallowed goal.

Vinicius Jr.
Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring for Real Madrid in the Champions League final against Liverpool AFP / JAVIER SORIANO