‘A disaster from start to finish’: Liverpool’s CL calamity
REAL Madrid are the European champions for a third straight year!
In a thrilling finale to an electric tournament, Los Blancos ran out 3-1 winners over Liverpool in an enthralling contest in Kiev.
Goalkeeping howlers, shocking injuries and one of the best goals in Champions League final history, made the Kiev clash an absolute blockbuster.
However, it became an absolute calamity for Liverpool, with one beIN Sports pundit Trevor Francis labelling it 'a disaster from start to finish' as injuries, a jaw dropping strike and a pair of shocking errors sealed their fate.
Here are the moments that mattered...
23RD MINUTE: ALEXANDER-ARNOLD CHANCE
A classy exchange from Sadio Mane and Any Robertson down the left sent the Scot into the area down the left. He cut it back wonderfully for Roberto Firmino to carve out the first real chance of the match. The striker attempted a strike on the turn, but it was blocked by Sergio Ramos as the ball fell to the feet of young right back Alexander-Arnold. The teen star's eyes lit up as he unleashed a drive goalward but Navas was equal to the task.
31ST MINUTE: SALAH INJURY
On a day where he was meant to be the headline act, Mohamed Salah was cruelly forced off after just over half an hour. A tangle with Sergio Ramos led to the Egyptian being slammed into the ground with full force landing on his left shoulder. He was initially able to continue but shortly after the pain became too much to bear as the wide man walked off in tears. The biggest moment of the first half bar none.
37TH MINUTE: CARVAJAL INJURY
Just six minutes after Salah's teary exit, Real fullback Dani Carvajal sadly suffered the same fate. The right back had picked up a knock in the warm up and in the end it flared and forced his early withdrawal after just 37 minutes. It was rumoured to be an Achilles problem - he was replaced by Nacho.
43RD MINUTE: BENZEMA DENIED BY OFFSIDE
Karim Benzema thought he had broken the deadlock with a crucial strike in the 43rd minute, only to be rightly denied by the linesman. A beautifully weighted ball from the right found the head of Cristiano Ronaldo, and his powerful header was on target, forcing Loris Karius into a stunning save. The German kept it out, only for the ball to fall to Benzema who duly rammed the rebound home. He wheeled away in celebration, before realising the flag had been raised - with Ronaldo deemed offside in the lead up to his header.
51ST MINUTE: KARIUS HOWLER HANDS REAL LEAD
An absolute howler that changed the game.
Onlookers could hardly believe their eyes as a bizarre error from Karius gifted Benzema the opener. The stopper threw the ball directly into the outstretched leg of the striker as the ball trickled home handing Real the lead. Shockingly schoolboy on Europe's biggest stage.
55TH MINUTE: MANE STRIKES BACK
Just four minutes later the ledger was squared, as Sadio Mane poked home from close range to restore parity. It came from a well placed James Milner corner, as Dejan Lovren rose highest to head down for the Senegalese who nipped in to sneak home past Keylor Navas.
64TH MINUTE: BALE STUNNER
In what will surely go down as the best goal in Champions League final history, Real Madrid substitute Gareth Bale broke the deadlock with a superb bicycle kick. Marcelo's cross fell perfectly to the Welshman who shaped up to execute a bicycle kick. The shot sailed past a helpless Loris Karius in the Liverpool goal. Bale had been on the pitch for only a matter of minutes.
70TH MINUTE: POST DENIES REDS
Following Bale's brilliance, Liverpool responded with some attacking football. Sadio Mane found the ball at his feet and managed to get a shot away through the Real Madrid bodies. The shot struck the outside of Navas' post with the goalkeeper left stranded.
84TH MINUTE: KARIUS HORROR AS BALE NABS BRACE
Another goalkeeping blunder from Karius sealed Liverpool's fate. Gareth Bale was given too much time and space by the Liverpool defenders and was able to cut in from the right wing onto his preferred left foot. The Welshman struck the ball from roughly 35m out. While the ball was moving with insane pace, the powerful shot was directly at the German keeper, who spilt the ball into the back of his own net. It was the Welsh substitute's second goal of the game, and the Reds keeper's second mistake.