Liverpool and Real Madrid played out a cracking Champions League final on Saturday night, filled with extraordinary goals, incredible drama and heartbreaking injuries.
Los Blancos, favourites for the match due to their incredible success in Europe’s top club competition in recent years, took the lead through after Karim Benzema anticipated well to block Loris Karius’ throw into an empty net, but Sadio Mane soon poked home from Dejan Lovren’s header.
Gareth Bale came on as a second half substitute to score one of the great Champions League final goals before another moment to forget for Karius gave him a second and Real Madrid their third.
Here’s how Saturday’s final played out…
There was heartbreak for Mohamed Salah, who had to leave the pitch after injuring his shoulder in a tangle with Sergio Ramos. That piece of drama got its very own piece, so feel free to peruse. Here’s a snippet of the reactions…
After losing their star man to injury, things got worse for the Reds in the second half when Karius’ attempted throw was seen via telepathy by Benzema, who outstretched his leg to give Los Blancos the lead.
Ramos was not to blame for Salah injury & Benzema was a predatory genius to score that goal.
Those who think otherwise are footballing halfwits. #UCL2018
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 26, 2018
Liverpool were soon on level terms though, as Mane showed predatory instincts in the box to flick home Lovren’s header to equalise.
4 – Sadio Mané is only the 4th African player to score in a European Cup/Champions League final after:
Diamond. #UCLfinal #RMALFC @LFC pic.twitter.com/hZBEFpHr6g
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) May 26, 2018
GOOOOOOOAL!! SADIO MANE EQUALISES! WE BELIEVE!!
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) May 26, 2018
However, Gareth Bale’s introduction proved the catalyst for Real Madrid’s victory. Firstly, he scored one of the most incredible goals seen this season, arching his body to net an incredible overhead kick from Marcelo’s cross.
Message to all of you Ronaldo fanboys who couldn’t stop pissing your pants when he scored that overhead…
Gareth Bale’s was 100 times better.
— Tom Todhunter (@tdhntr) May 26, 2018
Gareth Bale has been watching Jerome’s overhead kick against Palace for inspiration. Top man
— Jack Reeve (@JackReeveTNC) May 26, 2018
TAKE A BOW, @GarethBale11!!! Absolutely INCREDIBLE overhead kick to fire us back ahead!
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) May 26, 2018
He got in on the act again soon after, profiting from another Karius shocker with a long-range effort that should have been comfortably stopped by the German.
Just had the call from #Karius’s agent. Sorry, no go.
— Morecambe FC (@ShrimpsOfficial) May 26, 2018
Loris Karius blames himself for the defeat. I said Well it was your fault Loris, you’ve cost us the game.
— Boring James Milner (@BoringMilner) May 26, 2018
The errors will likely haunt Karius for a long time, with Liverpool likely to pursue a new goalkeeper this summer even more ferociously following his two mistakes.
As if there wasn’t enough happening, a streaker stopped Real adding a fourth late on, coming on to the pitch with Cristiano Ronaldo ready to shoot and potentially have the fitting last word, as he has so often in recent years…
The streaker saved Liverpool from a 4-1 loss
— @Georgebakhos1 (@GeorgeBakhos1) May 26, 2018
FFS streaker messed up Ronaldo’s chance 😡
— The Boi (@ChuBoi) May 26, 2018
As for Real fans, it’s fair to say they were beaming after winning a third Champions League in a row…
Real Madrid na UEFA Champions Lague:
1️⃣3️⃣ #UCLFinal #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/DnKTjJ1noM
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@CitouRonaldo7) May 26, 2018
Most UCL winners in the history:
Real Madrid = 13
AC Milan = 7
Cristiano Ronaldo FC = 5
Liverpool/ Barcelona/Bayern = 5
Man can only be compared with clubs right now, he’s bigger than football pic.twitter.com/abffxXs3XK
— OMAR (@Omar__cr7_) May 26, 2018