The Spanish side lifted their 13th European title in Kiev, following an easy win over five-time champions Liverpool.
The Reds were full of blushes that cost them the game
Real Madrid took full advantage of Liverpool’s costly mistakes, despite the fact that the former side was left without their best player from the onset of the final. The game kicked off in standard fashion, with both sides flexing their muscles on occasions in the initial stages but nothing too serious.
However, disaster struck the Reds when their talismanic striker Mohamed Salah – who scored 11 goals in the competition until that point – suffered a collision with Real Madrid’s defender Sergio Ramos in the 26th minute of the Champions League final in Kiev. He immediately went down to the ground after sustaining a shoulder injury that effectively ruled him out of the game, leaving Liverpool without their biggest weapon against the Spanish giants.
This prompted many online sportsbooks in UK to suggest that Los Blancos players – Ramos in this case – were instructed to intentionally target Salah to as to immobilize Liverpool. And that’s exactly what happened, as the Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was forced to replace the Egyptian with Adam Lallana in the 31st minute.
The first half ended with a 0-0 reading on the scoreline, but action started to develop almost as soon as the Serbian referee blew the start of the second half. Karim Benzema, who has been underperforming all season long scoring only 11 times overall until the final, opened the scoring in the 51st minute by taking advantage of a massive mistake made by Liverpool’s keeper Loris Karius, as he practically handed out the ball to the Frenchman who simply had to stretch out his leg to direct the ball towards the goal.
But only four minutes later, Liverpool managed to bounce back with a goal from Sadio Mane who showed his great worth to the team, even as his was left without his teammate Salah up front to partner him.
Bale finally put on a worthy performance
Gareth Bale was the world’s most expensive player for a time, when he transferred from Tottenham to Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 for around €101m. In his first season with Los Blancos he is viewed as having been instrumental in landing them their long-awaited La Decima title – their 10th Champions League triumph in 2013/14. But for a number of seasons after that the Welshman has put in lackluster performances, despite winning almost everything with Real Madrid in the meantime.
But surprisingly on Saturday’s final against Liverpool, Bale was quite outstanding managing to even snap away the limelight from his teammate Ronaldo, who strives to be the “main man” in every game. In the 64th minute, from the left side of the field Marcelo crossed the ball into the box, which found its way to Bale’s strong foot just as he jumped in the air to perform a stunning scissor kick – reminiscent to that of Ronaldo earlier in the semi-finals against Juventus, per online sportsbooks in Spain.
Liverpool tried to make a few attacking attempts on Real Madrid’s goal, but none were converted. Salah’s absence was really felt on the pitch, which Los Blancos fully capitalized on as seven minutes from the end, Bale struck another goal from long range. It was a fantastic shot from outside the box, but in all fairness Liverpool’s keeper Karius made another disastrous error that cost them lifting the Champions League trophy.
With the result ending in 3-1, Real Madrid lifted their third-straight Champions League title – a feat that hasn’t been done since the 1970s when Bayern Munich clinched three consecutive European Cups (1974-76). Moreover, this is the Spanish side’s fourth Champions League victory in five years, which goes to show just how dominant they really are in this fruitful period.