Bale Leads Real Madrid To Third Straight UCL Title
UEFA Champions League Report: Real Madrid v Liverpool 26 May 2018
Real Madrid secured a third successive UEFA Champions League title as a brace from substitute Gareth Bale inspired a 3-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday evening.
Click through the gallery to see the best images of the first half!
Galacticos boss Zinedine Zidane opted to start Isco in the European Cup final in Kyiv ahead of Bale, who has scored four goals in his last four games.
The Reds got off to an encouraging start, with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane seeing a lot of the ball in the opposition half.
Los Blancos, meanwhile, had the first meaningful attack after 15 minutes as Cristiano Ronaldo broke free down the right before firing a powerful effort inches over the crossbar.
The Reds were dealt a blow on 30 minutes when their top scorer, Mohamed Salah, could not recover from a knock he sustained earlier and was replaced by Adam Lallana.
Six minutes later, Los Blancos were forced into a substitution of their own as Dani Carvajal landed awkwardly and was replaced by Nacho.
Los Blancos ended the first half stronger and had the ball in the net on 42 minutes, but Karim Benzema's strike was flagged offside after Loris Karius produced a superb save to keep out Ronaldo's header.
Five minutes into the second half, Los Blancos took the lead in bizarre fashion as Benzema stuck his foot out and deflected Karius' thrown clearance into the back of the net.
The lead was short-lived as Liverpool leveled matters in the 55th minute, with Mane showing great reactions to get to a knock-on from a corner to slot home from six-yards out.
Bale was introduced a few moments later and the Welshman made the perfect impact when he restored Real's lead in the 64th with an incredible bicycle-kick following a cross from Marcelo.
Mane went agonisingly close to equalising once again as he rattled the upright with a low strike from 20 yards out.
However, Bale sealed the win in the 83rd minute as the Wales international unleashed a strike from distance, which Karius unbelievably fumbled to ultimately drop the ball into the back of his own net.
The Reds tried to push for another goal in the closing stages but Los Blancos remained resolute to seal a third straight Champions League crown.