Champions League final: No disgrace for Tottenham only a sense of what might have been

So there was not to be one last comeback, another dramatic late goal to keep Tottenham in the cup, which did not have their name written on it after all.

Champions League final: No disgrace for Tottenham only a sense of what might have been

[team1]Liverpool[/team1][score1]2[/score1][team2]Tottenham[/team2][score2]0[/score2][/score]

So there was not to be one last comeback, another dramatic late goal to keep Tottenham in the cup, which did not have their name written on it after all.

A Mo Salah penalty inside 90 seconds, and a strike from Divock Origi against the run of play in the dying minutes meant it was Jurgen Klopp who finally won his first trophy with an English side, not Mauricio Pochettino.

There was no disgrace for Spurs, only a sense of what might have been if they had played the opening 45 minutes they way they did after the break, when they outplayed Liverpool and forced Alisson into a string of fine saves.

The damage was already done though, a moment of madness from Moussa Sissoko as he handled a Sadio Mane chip inside 30 seconds giving Liverpool a penalty that Salah was never going to miss.

That gave Liverpool something to hold on to, and left Spurs playing catch-up from the start, something they failed to do. But it was not for the want of trying. Their best attacking efforts were simply too little, too late.

The final half-hour was one-way traffic as Pochettino threw caution to the winds and threw on Fernando Llorente and Lucas Moura, the hero of Amsterdam. But there was to be no hat-trick for the Brazilian this time, as his compatriot Alisson stopped everything Spurs sent his way.

And when Liverpool subsitute Divock Origi ended a rare Reds attack with a clinical finish in the 88th minute, it was all over for Spurs and the thousands of fans who had waited so long for their first appearance in the final of this competition, and had come from all parts of the world to support them.

Madrid was full of them, fans who had come from as far away as New Zealand, Singapore, Hong King and Canada to see if Spurs could upset the odds.

At the final whistle, Liverpool's fans roared in delight that they had made up for last year's failure in the final, but moments later, Tottenham's fans sang one last chorus of support for their team, many of whom were in tears.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lifts the UEFA Champions League Trophy. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lifts the UEFA Champions League Trophy. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA.

They had started poorly and never got going in a turgid first-half in which both sides seemed to be suffering from the effects of a long season, the heat and humidity of Madrid, or maybe an element of nerves.

Pochettino had done his best to ensure Tottenham's players would not freeze in the final, taking them for unusual bonding sessions that involved walking on hot coals and holding arrow tips against each other's throats this week. His pre-match message was clear – play the match not the occasion.

But whatever the tone of the team talk, it was gone inside 60 seconds. Mane has been Liverpool's main man this season, and as soon as they worked the ball to him on the left, Spurs should have sensed danger.

Sissoko looked like he was directing traffic as he pointed his arms in the air, and when the ball hit him, he could have no excuses. The big Frenchman had been one of the stories of Tottenham's season with his powerful presence in midfield, but this was not his night. Injured, he was replaced by Eric Dier in the 74th minute.

But it could have been any number of Spurs players taken off if Pochettino had decided to make a half-time substitution, so poor were they in that costly opening 45 minutes.

Dele Alli failed to sparkle, Heung Min Son rarely had a sight of goal, and Christian Eriksen failed to dictate play the way he can. Harry Kane was playing his first game in seven weeks and looked below par, but the service to him left a lot to be desired too.

They were much better after the break, though, as Pochettino made them play at a faster pace, and run at Liverpool's back line.

Suddenly the nerves belonged to the red half of the Estadio Metropolitano, as Alisson was forced to repel shots from Son and Moura in quick succession, watch Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen head over from close range, and then save from Eriksen and Kane.

Tottenham's supporters roared on their side, and given their history of coming from behind in this run to the final, it would not have been a shock to see Pochettino's men get something. But it was not to be, Origi hammered the final nail in their coffin, and it is Liverpool who are Champions of Europe once more.

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