Football
2 months ago

Real late show sinks Dortmund to secure 15th European Cup

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Real Madrid won their 15th European Cup at a raucous Wembley on Saturday when they delivered another late surge to claim a 2-0 victory over a Borussia Dortmund team who had threatened an upset win after dominating the first hour.

With Dortmund having made, but spurned, several good chances, Real took control when Dani Carvajal headed in from a corner after 74 minutes and Vinicius Jr. fired home the second to beak German hearts.

Victory secured the trophy for the sixth time in 11 seasons and it was Real's 11th straight triumph in a European final – their last defeat coming against Aberdeen in the Cup Winners’ Cup 41 years ago. They have now won the continent's most prestigious club competition more than twice as often as the next best team.

It was a record-extending fifth success as a coach for Carlo Ancelotti, who also won the trophy twice as a player with AC Milan.

"I never get used to it, because it was difficult, very difficult, more than expected," the Italian said. "In the second half we were better - this is a dream that continues."

Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said Madrid have been doing that for 100 years, and he was not far off given they were 2-0 down in the first European Cup final in 1956 before coming back to beat Stade de Reims 4-3 for the first of their five in a row that started their love affair with the competition.

Words bouncing around in post-match interviews on Saturday included "clinical", "ice-cold", and "belief", while Carvajal summed up the match perfectly after the latest turnaround as his side completed a LaLiga-Champions League double.

"After the first half we didn't even deserve to go to the changing rooms level," he said. "But we came out of the first half alive, knowing that we would have our moment... and here it is".

Dortmund, who had shocked Paris St Germain in the semi-finals, had a dream first half in every aspect other than scoring.

Playing with confidence and aggression, their first good chance came after 21 minutes when Karim Adeyemi went too wide when rounding goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Then came a flurry of opportunities as Niclas Fuellkrug hit the post and low shots by Julian Brandt and Marcel Sabitzer were saved by Courtois.

YELLOW WALL

Dortmund had been attacking towards their own fans who, revelling in their team's first Champions League final since 2013 and only their third ever, did their best to reproduce the yellow wall atmosphere of their Westfalenstadion with noise and unified bouncing that shook the stadium to its foundations.

Madrid were unfazed by what was happening, however, and looked livelier from the start of the second half without really threatening.

Courtois saved a diving header from Fuellkrug and Dortmund were soon ruing the misses as 5ft 8 ins (172cm) full back Carvajal rose to meet a Kroos corner and steer in a glancing header.

The assist was a fitting way for Germany midfielder Kroos to mark his final game for the club while he Carvajal, Nacho and Luka Modric all equalled Francisco Gento’s record of six titles from their first era of Real dominance.

Madrid added their second goal when Dortmund's Ian Maatsen gave the ball away on the edge of his box. LaLiga player of the year and former Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham fed Vinicius Jr in space and the Brazilian fired home unerringly.

Dortmund's fans continued to sing in defeat, though they and their players will know this was a missed opportunity that will hurt for a long time.

"Today we saw a Dortmund team that we want to see," said coach Edin Terzic, whose side finished fifth in the Bundesliga.

"We played a fantastic game and maybe deserved a bit more than to lose 2-0.

"We did a lot of things right but they had this killer instinct. They were ice cold and they are deserved champions."

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