Madrid, June 2 (IANS) Mohamed Salah converted a penalty try in the opening minutes and Divock Origi added a late insurance goal as Liverpool defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 to win their sixth Champions League title.
On Saturday, the Reds became the first Premier League side to capture Europe’s most prestigious annual club tournament since Chelsea in 2012, while the match was the first all-English Champions League final since 2008, when Manchester United beat Chelsea, reports Efe news.
Liverpool’s title snapped a five-year run of Champions League crowns won by Spanish teams (four by Real Madrid and one by FC Barcelona) and also ended head coach Jurgen Klopp’s streak of seven straight losses in finals dating back to Borussia Dortmund’s defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the 2013 Champions final.
Both teams took the field at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium with their full line-up of stars, with Harry Kane back from an ankle injury to lead the Spurs and Roberto Firmino returning to bolster Liverpool’s attack.
The Reds, who lost last year’s Champions League final to Real Madrid, took command of the contest in controversial fashion less than two minutes into the game, after a pass by forward Sadio Mane near the edge of the area struck French midfielder Moussa Sissoko in his outstretched right arm after hitting his chest.
Salah made no mistake on the ensuing penalty kick to give his club a 1-0 lead.
The early excitement, however, was followed by a long stretch of sleep-inducing soccer, as two teams known for launching rapid counter-attacks and exerting pressure on the ball, opted for a more cautious approach.
While Tottenham appeared apprehensive about letting in a second goal and barely challenged Liverpool net minder Alisson, the Reds also were less potent than usual offensively.
A long-range blast by Trent Alexander-Arnold that grazed the woodwork at the 15-minute mark and a shot by Andrew Robertson that forced Hugo Lloris to make a save were their best chances to increase their lead before the intermission.
Both head coaches made changes after the break, with Klopp sending on Origi for Firmino in minute 58 and Mauricio Pochettino replacing Harry Winks in the 65th minute with Lucas Moura, who had earned playing time in the final by virtue of hat trick in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal against Ajax.
But while second-half substitute James Milner nearly made the score 2-0 with a shot from the edge of the box in the 69th minute, Tottenham did not get their offense going until the latter stages.
South Korean winger Son Heung-min finally launched a blast from long range in the 80th minute that Alisson did well to save and then headed a ball over the crossbar six minutes later.
Sandwiched in between those chances, Lucas fired a shot on goal that Alisson managed to corral.
With the result still very much in doubt, Origi touched off a massive Reds celebration at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium when he powered a left-footed shot inside the far post past Lloris in the 87th minute.
Klopp, who had joked prior to the match about his lack of success in finals, relished the victory.
“Did you ever see a team like this, fighting with no fuel at all? What a night. It’s maybe the best night of my life professional-wise,” Liverpool’s Web site quoted the head coach as telling BT Sport.
The title was Liverpool’s sixth in Europe’s premier club competition, third most after Real Madrid’s 13 and AC Milan’s seven.