As It Happened: Champions League Final – Real Madrid vs Liverpool
Gareth Bale scores one of the most spectacular goals of the tournament after coming off the bench for Real Madrid. He was the key player the La Liga team needed to claim their third consecutive Champions League title. Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s victory spelled nightmare for Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius.
It all went downhill for Liverpool after top scorer Mohamed Salah got into a tussle with Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos midway through the first half. He sustained a shoulder injury that forced him to postpone his Champions League trophy dreams.
Six minutes after half-time, the German goalkeeper threw the ball against Karim Benzema and can only watch the ball roll behind him into the net.
Liverpool equalized shortly after picking up a loose ball parried by Navas from a corner kick. Sadio Mane took advantage and scored the only goal for Liverpool that night, putting him at par with teammates Firmino and Salah with 10 goals each in the tournament.
Bale made his presence felt on another Champions League final with a stunner to put Real up 2-1 right after the 64th-minute, which happened only three minutes after he replaced Isco. A sharp and speedy cross from Marcelo set the Welshman up for an overhead goal that was reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal against Juventus a few months back.
Karius’ night was about to get worse after he fumbled a rocket of a shot by Bale. Although the ball was going straight towards the keeper, he fumbled the 30-yard shot behind him to clear the path between Madrid and their fourth Champions League trophy in only five seasons. In addition, this sealed coach Zinedine Zidane’s third victory in the Champions League in three years.
It was all but familiar for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. This was his third successive final since arriving at Anfield, only to suffer defeats in the League Cup and Europa League finals of 2016.
The story of the 2017-2018 Champions League final will tell a few tales, including Karius’ nightmare in goal, Salah’s disappointing injury, and Bale reminding his critics that he is still a world-class player worthy of a spot in Madrid’s lineup.