Real Madrid win third straight Champions League title

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Gareth Bale scored one of European football’s great goals to help Real Madrid overcome Liverpool 3-1 and win their third successive Champions League title as goalkeeper Loris Karius suffered a personal nightmare.

Bale made his mark on another Champions League final with a magnificent overhead kick to put Real 2-1 up after 64 minutes.

Liverpool had already suffered the devastating blow of losing top scorer Mohamed Salah midway through the first half – with a shoulder injury sustained in a challenge with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos – when calamity struck for Karius.

Six minutes after half-time, the German inexplicably threw the ball against Karim Benzema, who was not even challenging with urgency, and watched in horror as the ball rolled behind him into the net.

Gareth Bale scored just two minutes and two seconds after coming off the bench. It was the second-fastest by a substitute in a Champions League final, after Lars Ricken for Borussia Dortmund against Juventus in 1997.

Liverpool recovered from the shock to equalise through Sadio Mane before Bale stepped off the bench to score his wonder goal.

There was to be no comeback from Liverpool this time and Karius’s misery was complete when he fumbled Bale’s hopeful 30-yard shot behind him to seal Real’s win.

It sealed Real’s record 13th win in this competition, and their fourth in five seasons to give coach Zinedine Zidane this third triumph in three years.

For Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, it was disappointment again – he lost his third successive final since arriving at Anfield, having suffered defeats in the League Cup and Europa League finals of 2016. (BBC Sport)

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