Football

Real Madrid defy Dortmund to win 15th Champions League

Real Madrid players lift the trophjy to celebrate winning the Champions League for the 15th time © Glyn KIRK / AFP

London (AFP):– Real Madrid withstood a Borussia Dortmund barrage to win the Champions League for the 15th time as Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Junior struck late in a 2-0 win at Wembley on Saturday.

Right-back Carvajal headed in from Toni Kroos’ corner on 74 minutes before Vinicius fired home to extend the Spanish giants’ record as the most successful club in Champions League history.

Madrid have now won their last nine European Cup finals and won the competition six times in the last 11 seasons.

However, not for the first time in that run, they had to rely on some good fortune as underdogs Dortmund were left to bitterly regret not making the most of their first-half chances.

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Niclas Fuellkrug hit the post and Karim Adeyemi failed to convert a one-on-one with Thibaut Courtois.

Madrid, though, always seem to find a way in Europe’s elite competition and made more history in London.

“They left us alive with the game level and in the second half we started to play better,” said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“This squad leaves me very satisfied because we don’t always play our best but we never give up.”

Carvajal, Kroos, Nacho and Luka Modric joined Real legend Paco Gento as the only players to win the European Cup six times.

Vinicius Junior scored Real Madrid’s second goal as they beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 to win the Champions League © INA FASSBENDER / AFP

Ancelotti also extended his record as the most successful coach in the competition’s history with his fifth title.

A record number of more than 2,500 stewards were in place at Wembley with the authorities keen to avoid a repeat of the violent scenes that marred the Euro 2020 final three years ago when ticketless fans stormed the turnstiles.

But further questions over the security operation will be raised as three pitch invaders were able to enter the field in the opening minutes of the game, with one taking photos alongside Jude Bellingham and Vinicius.

The start to the Champions League final was disrupted by three pitch invaders © Adrian DENNIS / AFP

The Metropolitan Police said there had been 53 arrests, including five for pitch invasions.

Wasted Dortmund chances

Ancelotti said pre-match he felt “like a lion” after an afternoon siesta, but his side were caught napping for the first 45 minutes as, roared on by the travelling thousands from Germany, Dortmund dominated.

The decision to recall Courtois for his first Champions League appearance of the season after a serious knee injury paid dividends as the Belgian kept his side in the game.

Dortmund’s best chances fell to Adeyemi as Carvajal could not deal with the German international’s pace.

A brilliant pass by Mats Hummels put Adeyemi clean through, but he took a heavy touch under pressure from Courtois and ran too wide before his shot was blocked by Carvajal.

Fuellkrug’s barrel-chested physique has made him a fan favourite in his first season at Dortmund.

The German international striker came closest to breaking the deadlock before half-time when his effort from Ian Maatsen’s through ball came back off the inside of the post.

Adeyemi was then denied once more by Courtois from a narrow angle and Fuellkrug could not twist his frame to turn in the rebound.

“We didn’t show the efficiency to score,” said Dortmund boss Edin Terzic.

“We were close to taking the lead but then there was a momentum shift where the game turned around and you see why they are the champions of this competition.”

Ancelotti, Nacho and Modric were keen to stress on the eve of the match that Madrid’s habit of finding a way to get over the line in the Champions League was no coincidence.

Dortmund’s Karim Adeyemi was guilty of missing golden chances to put his side in front in the Champions League final © INA FASSBENDER / AFP

Having ridden their luck once more in the first half, the Spanish champions found their feet in the second period.

Gregor Kobel was finally forced into a save on 48 minutes from Kroos, who came close to marking the final game of his club career with a spectacular free-kick.

Bellingham was moulded into a world star during three years at Dortmund before leaving for Madrid 12 months ago for more than 100 million euros ($108 million).

The England international was inches away from biting the hand that used to feed him as he just could not get a telling touch on Vinicius’ teasing cross.

Madrid landed the decisive blow 16 minutes from time when Carvajal rose highest to head in Kroos’ corner.

Kobel then briefly kept his side alive with fine saves from Eduardo Camavinga and Nacho, while Bellingham’s goalbound effort was deflected behind by Nico Schlotterbeck.

But Bellingham did have a moment to savour on his homecoming as his pass teed up Vinicius to kill off Dortmund despite Kobel getting a hand to the Brazilian’s powerful shot.

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