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Real Madrid v Liverpool – Story of the match

Gareth Bale comes off the bench to score twice as Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to be crowned Champions of Europe for a 13th time.


Real Madrid v Liverpool – UEFA Champions League – Final – NSK Olimpiyskiy Stadium

Real Madrid v Liverpool – UEFA Champions League – Final – NSK Olimpiyskiy Stadium

Real Madrid v Liverpool – UEFA Champions League – Final – NSK Olimpiyskiy Stadium

Substitute Gareth Bale scored a stunning overhead kick and a long-range second as Real Madrid claimed their third straight Champions League title, but Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat owed just as much to two howling errors from goalkeeper Loris Karius.

The Reds suffered a dramatic blow when star man Mohamed Salah was forced off with a shoulder injury inside half an hour and then went behind as Karius had his pocket picked by Karim Benzema in embarrassing fashion.

Sadio Mane rifled home an equaliser from close range but Bale’s unforgettable, acrobatic finish restored the lead before Karius threw in a swerving long-range effort from the Welshman.

Tweet of the match

Star man

Gareth Bale. Began the day a brooding figure having been left out of the starting XI in favour of Benzema and was seemingly absent for much of the warm-up. But once he was given his chance with just over half an hour left he grabbed the spotlight. He had been on the field less than three minutes when he flung himself in the air and summoned a goal for the ages. He then had the bravado to chance his arm from unlikely distance and cashed in on Karius’ fragile confidence. Suitors be warned, Bale is not for sale.

Stat of the day

Defeat for Liverpool took manager Jurgen Klopp’s losing streak in finals to six in a row. The German lost the Europa League and League Cup with Liverpool in 2016 having lost two German Cups and a Champions League during his time at Borussia Dortmund. He has tasted success once, though, beating Bayern Munich 5-2 in the German Cup back in 2012.

Familiar faces

Real Madrid broke new ground in Europe’s top competition by naming an identical starting XI to the one which won the 2017 Champions League final against Juventus last year. Five of Zinedine Zidane’s seven substitutes were even the same. Theo Hernandez and Lucas Vazquez were the new arrivals, taking the slots of departed duo Alvaro Morata and Danilo.

Player Ratings

Loris Karius 2, Trent Alexander-Arnold 6, Dejan Lovren 7, Virgil van Dijk 6, Andrew Robertson 8, James Milner 6, Jordan Henderson 6, Georginio Wijnaldum 6, Sadio Mane 8, Mohamed Salah 6, Roberto Firmino 7, : Substitutes: Adam Lallana (for Salah) 5, Emre Can (for Milner) 5.

Real Madrid: Keylor Navas 7, Dani Carvajal 6, Sergio Ramos 7, Raphael Varane 7, Marcelo 8, Casemiro 7, Luka Modric 7, Toni Kroos 7, Isco 5, Karim Benzema 8, Cristiano Ronaldo 6. Substitutes: Nacho (for Carvajal) 6, Gareth Bale (for Isco) 9, Marco Asensio (for Benzema) 5.