Champions League Final Report: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

Sat, May 26 2018

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Real Madrid won their third Champions League in a row as they beat Liverpool 3-1 with Gareth Bale helping himself to two goals on the night .

Liverpool were the quickest to settle and had the better of the possession and the play for the opening half hour until their goal scorer supreme Mo Salah had to go off injured after a nasty fall on his shoulder from a Ramos challenge.

Daniel Carvajal also followed Salah off in tears with an injury shortly afterwards but the Salah substitution was the real turning point in the opening half as Real Madrid really started to come into the game showing much more confidence and displaying much more efficiency in their passing.

The opening chance of the game fell the way of Real Madrid with Isco latching onto a ball over the top by Modric which Karius saved but the linesman had already flagged for offside.

Apart from that early Isco chance, it was all Liverpool in the opening stages as they showed real urgency and hunger to win every single ball. Real Madrid couldn’t live with their pace at times as the men in red tried their best to find a way through down both flanks with Robertson and Alexander-Arnold seeing lots of the ball early on.

Klopp’s men were showing that they were really up for this game and were growing in confidence after each chance as they put it up to Madrid early on.

Chances came for Salah and Firmino with early crosses from both full-backs and Mane almost played through on goal by Firmino but Marcelo was quickest to react as Madrid held firm but at the same time looked quite nervous and cagey.

With all of the early play coming the way of Liverpool, it took Ronaldo fifteen minutes or so to see his first real action in the game.  Carvajal darted forward forcing the Liverpool players to retreat before playing the ball right towards Ronaldo who hit a powerful shot towards goal but sent it wide.

The Liverpool pressure and urgency continued as the half wore on with two quick chances in succession for Firmino and Alexander-Arnold down the other end just after Ronaldo’s chance. Milner squared the ball brilliantly for Firmino who popped a quick shot at goal forcing Navas to palm the ball straight into the path of Arnold but the full back hit his shot straight into the arms of Navas to give possession back to Madrid.

Salah was soon in tears having to leave the field early on after a heavy fall onto his shoulder from a bad Sergio Ramos tackle. He attempted to play on but was had to leave the field moments later with Adam Lallana taking his place.

It was after the Salah substitution that Real Madrid started stringing their first sequence of passes together and gain a bit more confidence on the ball and it was Zidane’s men who had the better of the closing minutes of the first half with the one negative being the forced substitution of Daniel Carvajal, having to come off injured shortly after Salah with Nacho getting into the action earlier than he expected.

Real Madrid had the ball in the back of the net through Karim Benzema just on the stroke of half time but the goal was ruled out for offside. Ronaldo found himself with a free header from a ball over the top from Isco. Ronaldo powered a header straight at Karius who palmed the ball out to Benzema who tapped the ball into the net but turned to see the linesman with his flag up.

The second half was just three minutes old when Isco cracked a shot off the bar and should have done better after a slip from the young Liverpool left back Alexander Arnold.

Real Madrid took the lead after fifty minutes through Karim Benzema after the first howler of the night from Karius. The Liverpool goalkeeper attempted to throw the ball ahead of him out to Lovren but ended up throwing the ball straight off the out stretched foot of Benzema which sent the ball into the net.

The Madrid lead lasted just four minutes when Sadio Mane levelled the game for Liverpool.  A Milner corner was headed down brilliantly from Lovren straight into the path of Mane who poked the ball past Navas.

Ten minutes later and Gareth Bale took to the field. Two minutes later he gave Real Madrid the lead with a wonder goal and a finish fitting for any European final. A Marcelo cross was met by Bale with his back to goal who leapt through the air and sent a overhead strike past the helpless Karius in the goal.

Mane almost drew Liverpool level again just minutes later but cracked the ball against the bottom of the post and Ronaldo came so close to his goal but a fantastic Andy Robertson intervention denied the Real Madrid danger man.

With just six minutes to go, man of the hour and man of the match Gareth Bale scored his second of the night to give his team a 3-1 lead and seal a third consecutive European title. An ambitious effort from distance led to another Karius howler who let the ball bounce off his gloves and past him into the net as he attempted to palm the ball away.

Real Madrid held on to secure their third Champions League title in a row, a fantastic achievement in the modern game.

Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal (Nacho 36), Marcelo, Ramos, Varane, Casemiro, Isco( Bale 61), Modric, Kroos, Benzema (Ascensio 87), Ronaldo

Liverpool: Karius, Robertson, Lovren, Van Dijk, Alexander Arnold, Henderson, Milner  (Can 85), Wijnaldum, Firmino, Salah (Lallana 30), Mane