Champions League final: Real Madrid strike late to beat Borussia Dortmund

Los Blancos become European champions for the 15th time as Dortmund rue missed chances

Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League final. Getty
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Real Madrid sealed their 15th European Cup after they beat Germany's Borussia Dortmund 2-0 during a tightly contested Champions League final at Wembley Stadium in London.

Madrid were under pressure for much of the game, as Dortmund failed to put away several big chances, particularly in the first half.

However, Madrid fought back, with defender Dani Carvajal opening the scoring as he headed in with 15 minutes of the game remaining.

Real's Brazilian forward Vinicius slotted in the second when Dortmund lost possession outside their box in the 83rd minute.

The goal sparked rapturous celebrations among the Madrid fans who had travelled to London. Dortmund supporters, who had been a wall of noise throughout the game, were silenced.

The result was hard on the German side who missed several good first-half chances, the best of which was Niclas Fuellkrug hitting the post from close range.

Carlo Ancelotti had warned his Real players on the eve of the final that they would play with fear and they certainly suffered from stage fright for large parts of the game – eventually finding a way to win.

Thibaut Courtois was making his first Champions League appearance of the season having recovered from two serious knee injuries and his saves kept Madrid in the game until they struck themselves.

Wembley Stadium confirmed arrests were made after the game was halted inside the opening minute as three separate pitch invaders evaded security.

When the game got back under way it was Borussia Dortmund, watched on by former boss Jurgen Klopp, who were the better side but a gritty Real performance ultimately saw them come out on top once more.

Madrid have not lost a major European final since losing the Cup Winners' Cup to Sir Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen in 1983 but there were times here when they looked set to fall short.

Julian Brandt had a decent early chance but fluffed his lines in what was to become a familiar feeling for Edin Terzic's side.

They were soon left ruing a great opportunity to break the deadlock as Karim Adeyemi raced through a gaping hole in the Madrid defence but took a touch far too wide as he tried to round Courtois.

Still the chances came for the underdogs from the Bundesliga, this time Fullkrug hitting the inside of the post after Ian Maatsen had too easily won the ball back from the otherwise impressive Federico Valverde.

Real were not at the races but Dortmund could not take advantage of their early dominance, Courtois this time saving well from Adeyemi, whose pace was causing plenty of problems.

Frustration was starting to build among the Madrid ranks as Vinicius was booked for a late challenge on Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel.

Courtois was less convincing as he pushed away a Marcel Sabitzer strike from outside the box that bounced in front of the Belgium No 1.

Real began to show signs of life soon after the interval, Kobel saving well from a Toni Kroos free-kick before a Carvajal header also came close to breaking the deadlock.

It was not long, however, until Courtois was back in action as he saved well from a Fulkrug header, with Bellingham unable to make any contact when he had a chance soon after for Madrid.

Dortmund's defence had not learnt their lesson though as Carvajal guided a Kroos corner past Kobel to put Ancelotti's men in front with 16 minutes remaining.

Kobel did well to keep out another Kroos free-kick as well as a curling strike from Eduardo Camavinga and a Nacho header with Real looking to make sure of the result in the late stages.

But there was nothing he could do as the lead was doubled courtesy of Vinicius, who collected and dispatched Bellingham's pass after a misplaced ball from Maatsen.

Fullkrug thought he had pulled one back for Dortmund but his effort was offside.

Carvajal, Modric, Nacho and the retiring Kroos all celebrated winning a record-equalling sixth European Cup as Dortmund – much like their defeat in the final to Bayern Munich at Wembley 11 years ago – were left wondering what might have been.

Updated: June 02, 2024, 4:40 AM