With a 3-1 win, Real Madrid capture the 13th Champions League/European Cup trophy (and 3rd in a row), beating Liverpool in a final that will be remembered for Sergio Ramos injuring Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius making unforgivable mistakes and Gareth Bale epitomizing the term ‘Super Sub’.
30th minute – Mohamed Salah leaves the pitch in tears as Adam Lallana, with hardly any playing time during this season, takes to the pitch. Five minutes earlier, Salah was pulled down to the grass by Sergio Ramos, resulting in a shoulder injury. Intentionally? By mistake. Ramos always walks a fine line between aggressive and plain violent, but it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that the dynamic of the match completely changed once Salah was substituted out of the match, as Liverpool were the better and more dangerous side early on.
51st minute: Karius makes his first foolish mistake of the night. Instead of waiting 2 more seconds for Karim Benzema to clear the penalty area, the Liverpool goalkeeper rushes the throw, which Benzema quickly reacts to, scoring one of the more bizarre goals we’ve seen this season. Karuis, white as a ghost, tries to explain something to the referee, knowing fully well that it’s his fault his team is behind.
55th minute: Sadio Mane, the only dangerous player Liverpool had after Salah left the pitch, scores the equalizer, giving the neturals and Liverpool fans hope that despite the absence of Salah and the uneven state of affairs on the pitch, we’re still having us a final that can go in any direction.
64th minute: Gareth Bale puts an end to that notion. Three minutes after coming in for Isco, the Welshman scores perhaps the best goal in the history of the competition’s final matches, hitting a scissor kick perfectly off a Marcelo cross. If the first goal that put Liverpool behind was a combination of luck, momentary brilliance and stupidity, this one showed just how deep Real Madrid are, and how talented.
83rd minute: Bale gets to score another goal, Marcelo gets another assist. However, the fault is all Karius, who poorly handled a 35-meter shot by Bale. Not quite sure if he tried to catch the ball or parry it open handed. Whichever it was, the ball ended up going into the net, ending Liverpool’s hope of equalizing once more. Emre Can came on the pitch a minute earlier for James Milner, but never succeeded in impacting the match like Zidane’s super sub, Bale.