UEFA Champions League final match preview, Real Madrid vs Liverpool 26 May 2018
Posted: 26 May 2018 Time: 21:04
Real Madrid clinched their third successive UEFA Champions League title with a 3-1 beating of Liverpool in the final on Saturday evening.
If their start was anything to go by, the Reds meant business as they made life difficult for Los Blancos with their pressing game.
On the back foot for the opening minutes, the defending champions showed nerves of steel to come up with the first chance at goal through Cristiano Ronaldo, who tried to make the most of a snap ball but was blocked off.
Real were battling to get into their stride as Trent Alexander-Arnold got the game’s first shot on target from a ball on the left side after a cross on 23 minutes.
Liverpool talisman Mo Salah, the first Egyptian to play in a Champions League final, saw his night come to a premature end after colliding with Sergio Ramos and needing to be replaced by Adam Lallana on 33 minutes.
The same scenario unfolded for the Whites after Daniel Carvajal pulled out injured on 39 minutes following a knock. His role was filled by Nacho Hernandez.
Karim Benzema thought he had handed Real the lead after following up on Ronaldo’s close-range header that forced Lorius Karius into a good save, but the officials found he had been on the wrong side of the Reds defence on 43 minutes.
Real again came close to finding the opener after Marcelo’s cross picked out Isco, who took aim with a volley that struck the crossbar at the start of the second half.
A goalkeeping blunder by Karius on 51 minutes played in Benzema, who took the initiative to score the opener after sticking out a boot to deflect the keeper's attempted throw into the back of the net.
It was happening at both ends and Sadio Mane propped up inside the box to glide home the leveler on 55 minutes after a knock-down from a corner.
Two minutes after coming on, Gareth Bale found the second for Zinedine Zidane’s side with an audacious overhead kick that had everyone marveling on 63 minutes.
A positive response still came through from Jurgen Klopp’s side who, despite trailing, nearly drew level yet again when Mane’s low shot found the bottom left post in the 71st minute.
The nightmare for Karius wasn’t over after fumbling Bale’s 30-yard strike into his own net to hand Los Blancos and unassailable lead.
The Spaniards celebrated once more as the kings of Europe for the 2017/18 season for an unprecedented third time and an overall 13 continental crowns.
Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Modric, Kroos, Isco, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Subs: Casilla, Nacho, Bale, Hernandez, Lucas, Asensio, Kovacic
Liverpool: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Djik, Robertson, Henderson, MIlner, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino.
Subs: Mignolet, Clyne, Klavan, Moreno, Lallana, Can, Solanke