Dani Carvajal and Viní deliver European glory for Don Carlo

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Carvajal, Vinicius score as RMA seal 2-0 win to clinch title
Carvajal, Vinicius score as RMA seal 2-0 win to clinch title

Real Madrid claimed a record-extending 15th European Cup after goals from Dani Carvajal and Vinícius Júnior earned a hard-fought 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) final at Wembley Stadium.

The crescendo to the European club season was finally here, pitting together a Los Blancos side that had regained their domestic supremacy, against a Dortmund team which had finished top of the so-called ‘Group of Death’, and taken in the scalps of Atlético Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain en route to an unexpected UCL final appearance.

Der BVB landed the first jab in this heavyweight clash, as Julian Brandt fired wide from Niclas Füllkrug’s intelligent pass. Karim Adeyemi was then left to rue a golden missed opportunity after arching his run beautifully to meet a Mats Hummels pass, but could not find a way past Thibaut Courtois. Füllkrug then slid into the box and agonisingly saw his effort hit the post, in another huge warning for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

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Courtois was called into action again to deny the lively Adeyemi, before comfortably dealing with Füllkrug’s follow-up header. The Belgian was by far the busier of the two shot-stoppers, and pushed away Marcel Sabitzer’s strike, leaving Edin Terzic’s men wondering how they had not managed to draw first blood before HT.

Toni Kroos was making the final appearance of his illustrious club career, and almost answered his team’s call for a moment of magic when the German’s free-kick was pushed behind by Gregor Kobel in the Swiss goalkeeper’s first save of the match, just past the restart. Those hoping for a subsequent flurry of Los Blancos goalscoring opportunities would be left disappointed in a sluggish start by the Spanish champions, but Kobel did well to keep out Carvajal’s instinctive finish at the near post via the assistance of lan Maatsen. Jude Bellingham was having an uncharacteristically quiet match by his own lofty standards, but came within inches of scoring for Los Blancos when rising in the box to meet an enticing Vinícius delivery.

However, there was a growing sense of inevitability that despite Dortmund’s overall superiority, it was only a matter of time before Real struck first. Kroos was the provider with a sublime corner into the path of Carvajal, who executed a superb glancing header past Kobel in the 74th minute, and a club synonymous with this competition had struck first.

Bellingham looked to rub salt into BVB’s open wounds, but Nico Schlotterbeck made a crucial challenge to deflect the England midfielder’s attempt wide and keep his team in this contest. But Vinícius scored the killer second goal with a scuffed angled finish from Bellingham’s pass, and Dortmund’s brave fight had come to nothing.

This was another far-from-vintage Los Blancos performance, but incredibly, it was enough to get the job done and secure what was surprisingly only a fourth LaLiga and European Cup double. It was also a fitting way for Kroos to end his club career before making his final playing sojourn at UEFA Euro 2024, winning a joint-record sixth European Cup/UCL title, matching club legend Paco Gento’s record.

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