1 in a Billion Moments in Football

 For the 14th time in their rich and unrivaled history, Real Madrid was crowned King of the UEFA Champions League on Saturday at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. Liverpool, league giants, 10th in Finals (Player Ratings). Jurgen Klopp’s team dominated the ball and chances, but the Whites’ best second-half chance resulted in the game’s only goal. Federico Valverde played a powerful ball from across the box which found Vinicius Jr. at the far post for a fairly easy shot in the 59th minute, leaving the Reds stunned.

Liverpool hit the post in the first half and had most of the game’s chances but didn’t miss after an incredible goalkeeper performance from Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian goalkeeper, who lost the final with Atletico Madrid against Real Madrid eight years ago, is now on the winning side with an epic performance that will go down in history, negating the high-octane attack and players like Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane each opportunity he got.

Real Madrid finished the game with just four strokes while Liverpool had 24. Real ended the game with a 0.88 xG to Liverpool’s 2.44. Courtois made nine saves that night. The goal expectation against Courtois was 2.14, showing just how instrumental he was in the Spanish giants’ success that night. The win completes a double for Real Madrid after winning La Liga this season.

Liverpool will feel… wasted. The Reds will be proud of the chances created but disappointed with the way they ended. Part of the reason was what Courtois could do in goal, but then I think of Naby Keita’s chance at the end. on. The midfielder was alone at the top of the box when the ball fell on him and could have had two touches before the shot, but he caught him on the first touch, sending the ball closer to the corner than the goal.

For the Reds, it was the game of missed opportunities. They did whatever was necessary to at least create extra time, but they couldn’t do it.

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