A Mario Mandzukic wonder goal was just a footnote in a final dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo as Real Madrid won their 12th European Cup.
The Spanish side opened the scoring through Cristiano Ronaldo, but were pegged back by Mandzukic’s bicycle kick. Real Madrid, however, ran away with the game in the second-half as Casemiro and then Ronaldo ensured Juventus could not get back into the game.
Marco Asensio confirmed the result late on when he scored the fourth to ensure the trophy went to Madrid.
Gonzalo Higuain made the most of a bright start from Juventus, who had Real Madrid on back foot early on, as he glided past two defenders before smashing a shot from 25 yards which Keylor Navas could only fumble away to safety due to its ferocity.
Despite their early dominance, Real Madrid took the lead following a period of fouls which saw the tempo of the game decrease. The Spanish side broke from the back as the ball made its way to Dani Carvajal on the right, who found Cristiano Ronaldo running into space in the centre, and due to the forward’s quality he was able to glide the ball into the corner – aided by a deflection – from 15 yards out.
The former Manchester United attacker became the first man to score in three Champions League final in the process after a challenging start to the game. When he’d got on the ball before this moment he was challenged by a number of Juventus defenders who wanted to ensure he knew what he was up against, with Dani Alves providing some robust efforts to stop the Portugal captain but they did not put Ronaldo off.
The Italians weren’t behind for long as Mandzukic scored an incredible equaliser for Juventus. Alex Sandro’s cross was sent into the path of the Croatian via Higuain, allowing Mandzukic to chest the ball down and hook a volley over Navas.
It was one of the greatest goals to ever grace a final, performed by a player and team high of confidence, a moment that deserved to settle a game, instead it meant it started again with the teams on parity. The atmosphere was slightly more subdued for a while after it, as both teams knew the slightest mistake could cost, having played the opening stages at an incredibly high tempo.
After the break the quality wasn’t the same but it was a relentless game between two sides who wouldn’t let the setting worry them, with Juventus looking the more tired.
The decrease in standards was summed up when Juventus were unable to clear, letting the ball land at an oncoming Casemiro whose long range effort struck Sami Khedira and beyond Gigi Buffon to give Real Madrid the lead.
Real Madrid were on the up, pushing back a Juventus side who had started so well. Ronaldo got his second of the game when Luka Modric crossed from byline for his team-mate to fly in at the front post to execute perfect volley from close range.
The strike was a summary of how Ronaldo has adjusted this season; it was a goal from a poacher, not the man who has spent his life scoring the spectacular. The forward netted twice from inside the area, proving how deadly he can be in the opposition box. Both goals were testament to Ronaldo’s movement, arriving at the last minute to get on the end of crosses at the perfect moment.
Zinedine Zidane, a man underestimated as a coach, brought on Gareth Bale to enjoy the final 15 minutes in his home city as Real Madrid waltzed to the title, a fitting moment for the Welshman, and a sign of the quality the Frenchman can call upon from the bench.
Sergio Ramos, despite his team winning, decided to spend his time ensuring Juan Cuadrado was dismissed for a second booking. The Spaniard was brushed to the side as the Juventus player tried to collect the ball for a throw-in, at which point Ramos threw himself to the ground, acting in a disgraceful manner, summed up as he immediately got to his feet once the red card was shown.
The tired ten men of Juventus could not cope with Real, further proved as Marcelo was the quickest to react to a Ronaldo free-kick which hit the wall, allowing the Brazilian to get round the back and pull the ball back for substitute Asensio to make it 4-1 from close range.