History Makers. Real Madrid became the first side in the Champions League era to win three titles back to back with a 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday night.
Substitute Gareth Bale proved to be the decisive player, scoring twice and turning the contest in favour of Los Blancos. Prior to his introduction just after the hour mark, the game was finely poised at 1-1. However, a stunning overhead kick and a 40-yard strike which was palmed in by Reds keeper Loris Karius settled the tie for the now thirteen-time European cup winners.
Liverpool started the brighter in the first half, pushing Real back in the early exchanges. Alexander Arnold came close to rounding off a slick passing move, if not for the quick reactions of Navas. Up the other end, Ronaldo had a shot from a tight angle blaze over.
The tie changed on the 30-minute mark, as Sergio Ramos clashed with Mohamed Salah with the Egyptian winger injuring his shoulder. In tears, the PFA player of the year departed the pitch, leaving Liverpool with a major problem.
Klopp's side looked shell-shocked after the departure of their star man, and Real Madrid looked to press their advantage. Liverpool held out, and the first half ended finely poised at 0-0.
Five minutes into the second half and Real had their lead in fortuitous circumstances. Chasing a lost cause, Benzema stuck his foot out as Karius attempted to throw the ball to Lovren, the ball came off his boot and trickled into the goal. Despite Liverpool's protests, the goal stood.
Klopp's side kept their composure and levelled the contest four minutes later. A towering header from Lovren was met by the boot of Sadio Mane. Liverpool were back in the contest.
The introduction of Bale proved pivotal. Zidane's side ramped up the pressure and took the lead with a stunning overhead kick from the Welsh winger, throwing a boot at a cross from Marcello. Somehow the ball found the back of the net, a truly stunning goal to settle a Champions League final.
Liverpool pushed, but lacked any cutting edge with Salah. Whilst a careless mistake from keeper Loris Karius gave Los Blancos a third on the night, a speculative shot from Bale squirmed through the hands of the German keeper. Two mistakes which handed the Champions League to Real Madrid.
Peep- Full-time! Real Madrid has won their third consecutive Champions League crown! With a 3-1 win over Liverpool! What a feat! Match report to follow!
90- Three minutes of Extra time
89- Sergio Ramos concedes a free kick. That is classic Sergio Ramos.
87- Asensio is coming on Benzema. The Real Madrid fans look happy. The Liverpool fans however do not.
82- Goal! That's it! 3-1 Real Madrid! All over! Good night! Karius with a howler! Bale with a speculative shot from 35 yards out. It goes straight through the keeper's hands. It's harsh. 3-1 Real Madrid.
82- Mane picks up a yellow for a late challenge on Sergio Ramos. Who goes down quickly. He's such a canny operatior!
81- Bale with a perfect cross to Benzema at the back post. The French striker's shot is parried well by Karius.
80- Ten minutes to go! Real Madrid looked to have wrapped up their third consecutive Champions League crown, but you just don't know. Liverpool to show some character.
78- Maybe time for a sub for Liverpool? Solanke & Can look the most likely to come on looking at the bench.
76- It's all Liverpool now, keeping the ball. They really need to carve out a chance soon. For now, Real are holding their ground well.
73- Up the other end, Ronaldo is denied by a perfect last-ditch tackle from Andrew Robertson.
71- Liverpool need a goal and quickly, Klopp's side are seeing plenty of the ball. Just no cutting edge in the final third. Firmino fires the ball against Casemiro. The calls are waved away by the referee.
70- Liverpool push forward. Mane has a shot from just outside the box which hits the post. So close!
66- That was an inspired sub by Zidane. Just seeing a replay of the goal, that's a once in a lifetime hit. It's like a goal you would score in FIFA. Crazy!
62- Goal! Ohhh My Goodness! What a goal! What was that?!? Marcello with the cross, Gareth Bale with a left-footed overhead kick which arches into the net. I'm not sure if he means it, but it's a sublime goal! 2-1 Real Madrid.
61- Fresh from that chance, Isco is off. He is replaced by Gareth Bale.
60- Chance for Real! Isco with a snapshot. Karius pulls off a good save to push the ball out for a corner, which is wasted.
59- The Liverpool fans have perked up! Real Madrid are seeing a little more of the ball! That won't stop the noise of the Liverpool fans.
54- GOAL! 1-1 Liverpool are back in it! Deep cross to Lovern who nods towards the goal, Mane is on hand to knock the ball into the net. Karius's blushes are saved for now!
53- It's canny play from Benzema. Liverpool needs to get back into this and fast. Milner knocks in a perfect cross, which just misses an unmarked Firmino at the back post.
50- Goal! Benzema! Well, that's a bizarre one! Ball back to Karius, who attempts a throw Benzema sticks a foot out, and the ball trickles into the net. Los Blancos have a 1-0 lead! Strange!
49- Firmino steps on Marcello's toes. Que a frown from the Madrid wingback.
47- Crossbar! Isco hits the woodwork! Karius is out quickly, but the Spaniard's shot smashes against the crossbar. That was a let-off for Liverpool!
Peep! Real Madrid get the second half started! Who will win the 2018 Champions League? We should find out in the next 45 or so minutes.
Peep- Half-Time 0-0 finely poised this! The loss of Salah is a major, major loss for Liverpool. Still, Real Madrid grew in confidence in the second half. Liverpool needs some team-talk to get them ready for the second half. Join me in 15!
45+2 Benzema has a crack from distance. His shot skips past the left-hand post.
45- Three minutes of Extra Time in the first half.
44- Real go close again! A perfect crossfield pass finds Natcho on the right wing. His first-time shot hits the side netting.
42- Real have the ball in the net! It's disallowed. Ronaldo leaps like a salmon and heads towards goal, Karius saves well. Benzema knocks in the rebound, but he's offside. Close for Los Blancos.
40- Real Madrid are seeing more of the ball now, Liverpool are working well as a team defensively. That team talk from is going to be big!
34- Now it's injury woe for Real Madrid. Carvajal kops a kick on the ankle from Robertson. The wingback is in tears, his match is over. Nacho is on in his stead. That could be his World Cup over.
33- Understandably Liverpool is a little flat now. You've got to feel for Salah.
31- That is a massive blow for Liverpool, Real Madrid look to take advantage. Benzema has a shot, but Robertson diligently clears the ball.
30- Salah comes on, and gets another knock on his shoulder. The Egyptian is in tears. This does not look good for the Reds. He's coming off. What shame. Adam Lallana is on in his place.
27- Meanwhile, Mane does well on the left wing wins a corner from nothing for Liverpool.
25- Hold your breath Liverpool fans, because Mo Salah is injured. It looks like a knocked shoulder after a clash with Sergio Ramos. He's off for treatment.
22- Two chances for Liverpool! First Firmino's shot is blocked by Ramos. Alexander-Arnold latches onto the rebound, but Navas is equal to it pulling off a good save to keep the shot from the youngster out.
20- Everyone seems to have settled into the game now. Meanwhile, the Liverpool fans are making a hell of a noise.
18- Up the other end, Liverpool wins a corner van Dijk leaps for it and knocks down Navas. Freekick for Real Madrid.
15- That was close for Real! Carvajal knocks the ball to Ronaldo on the right wing, his scampering run takes him into the box where he unleashes a fierce shot, thankfully for Liverpool fans its just over. A sighter for the Portuguese striker.
13- Liverpool with intent in the Madrid box and quite can't get a shot away, eventually, it's recycled to Alexander-Arnold his cross is punched away by Navas. It's an impressive start from the Redmen.
11- Benzema looks like he might have a knock. He's certainly walking gingerly. More information when I get it.
10- Marcello has a crack from distance, which goes well wide. That's the first shot in anger from Los Blancos tonight.
7- Liverpool has started well here. Salah passes to Firmino who heads the ball into the path of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Navas rushes out to gather the ball.
5- Sneaky from James Milner, a short pass to Salah who attempts to shoot from distance. Real Madrid is wise to it, and block the ball.
4- Marcello knocks down Salah in a dangerous position. No card for the fullback. Millner lurks over the ball with intent.
2- Real Hit back, Carvajal knocks in a cross to Isco, Karius comes out to punch the ball but Isco was offside. What a cracking start!
1-Breakneck start from Liverpool, as Salah gets played through early. Verane gets the tackle in.
Peep! James Milner of Liverpool gets us underway!
Right! Nearly game time! You can watch all the action vie beIN SPORTS CONNECT. Let's go!
A bit of Dua Lipa to get the fans pumped ahead of the game. I'm a big fan.
The big trophy is out. With legendary Ukranian striker Andriy Shevchenko doing the duties.
Good news! Plenty of Liverpool fans in Kiev for the final! They are outnumbering the Madrid fans tonight! They are going to have to make this a home game if the Redmen are to come away with the European Cup.
Penny for Gareth Bale's thoughts tonight. He's on the bench again for Real Madrid. I wonder if he'll grab a goal later on?
As ever! We have everything covered for you on beIN SPORTS for tonight. English, Arabic, French commentary is all available! You can watch it wall via beIN SPORTS CONNECT!
Over in the studio, and John Collins feels that Gareth Bale being on the bench is a huge boost for Liverpool.
Plenty of good stuff on the beIN SPORTS website ahead of kick-off. First up, a rather nice photo gallery of some of the build-up from Kiev. Why not have a read up on Liverpool's main man Mo Salah, and how he is on the brink of firing to Liverpool to Champions glory tonight. Finally, Real Madrid is aiming to lift a record thirteenth European Cup, relive how they won the previous twelve in this write-up.
Liverpool team news! No major chances for Klopp's side who keep with Firmino, Mane & Salah as a front three. Good news for Liverpool, Can & Lallana is fit enough to make the bench.
TEAM NEWS! We have the team news in! First up Real Madrid, who are aiming for a third straight Champions League title tonight. Bale is on the bench, after impressing in recent weeks in the league. Carvajal and Isco return after missing out in the semi-final against Bayern.
Real Madrid's dressing room is primed for the players tonight! Team news for Los Blancos is coming up as we get it.
The teams are here! Just a few hours away from kick-off in Kiev now!
Hello! Good evening! It's Champions League final time! A huge evening in prospect for Real Madrid & Liverpool fans! Tonight I will be giving e live minute by minute updates with all the goals as they go in! If minute by minute is not your thing, that's cool with me. You can follow all the build-up in English on HD11 via beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
Real Madrid faces off against Liverpool in the Champions League Final, in a match which will pit Mohamed Salah against Cristiano Ronaldo at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev on Saturday evening. It’s been a long road to the final with both sides, with Liverpool started their Champions League campaign back in August with a play-off against Hoffenheim.
Whilst for Los Blancos, they are looking to pick up a third consecutive European crown. An unprecedented feat in the Champions League era. The two sides have previously met in the 1981 European Cup Final, which saw Liverpool run out 1-0 winners. As ever, you can watch all the action Live & Exclusive on beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
How to watch online- beIN SPORTS CONNECT
Date- Saturday 26th of May
Kick off- 9:45 pm (Mecca)
Stadium- Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev
Real Madrid is looking to secure a record third consecutive Champions League crown. Zidane’s side has certainly shown their fragilities in the competition this season, with the 3-1 group stage defeat to Tottenham & the 3-1 quarter-final second-leg defeat to Juventus perfect examples that they can be vulnerable defensively.
Cristiano Ronaldo will yet again be the man to watch for Madrid, as they attempt a historic Champions League treble. The Portuguese star has scored 15 goals in the competition and went on a scoring run of 12 consecutive games a new record in the Champions League. Having not scored in the semi-finals, Ronaldo will be eager to find the back of the net in Kiev and write his name in the history books.
In team news, Zidane has no major injury concerns and has a fully fit side to choose from. Wingback Dani Carvajal & Isco should play some part in having missed out of the semi-final second leg against Bayern.
Predicted team- Real Madrid
Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Vasquez, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Liverpool has been playing some scintillating attacking football on route to the final, with the trio of Firmino, Mane and Egyptian star Mohamed Salah leading the line with some distinction for the Reds. Defensively, Liverpool has had their moments in this campaign with the 4-2 semi-final second leg defeat to Roma a stark reminder that they will have to show some caution in Kiev.
Although with the attacking talents of Firmino, Mane & Salah expect Liverpool to flood forward in the early exchanges. The attacking trio has scored 31 of Liverpool’s 40 goals this campaign this season which is 77.5% of their goals in the competition. Expect one of them to get on the scoresheet on Saturday.
In team news, Liverpool’s only long-term injury is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and it’s widely expected that Klopp will go with the same side that did him well in the second-leg against Roma.
Predicted team- Liverpool
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
It certainly promises to be a fascinating encounter when Real Madrid take on Liverpool in the Champions League final. As ever, you can watch all the action and build up from the Olimpiyskiy Stadium live & Exclusive via beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
Read more on UCL's Final Real Madrid - Liverpool: