UCL: Bale fires Real Madrid to historic third CL title

UCL: Bale fires Real Madrid to historic third CL title

Gareth Bale was the hero as Real Madrid became the first team to win three consecutive Champions League titles, after their 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in the final on Saturday.

Bale came off the bench to steal the show, scoring a brace, as Los Blancos survived a scare from the Reds to claim yet another CL title.

In a repeat of the 1981 final, which Liverpool won, it was the Reds who started the strongest, and dominated the first half but suffered a setback when their talisman, Mohamed Salah picked up a  shoulder injury on the half-hour mark.

Salah was replaced by Adam Lallana, but the Egyptian’s absence seemed to revive the holders, who began to pile pressure on the English side.

Neither of the two sides was able to find a breakthrough as they went into the break on level terms

After the break, Real took initiative, controlling the tempo of the game, with Liverpool contented to sit back and counter attack.

Three minutes after the restart, Isco Alarcon rattled the Liverpool post, as Los Blancos began to ask serious questions. Real eventually took the lead three minutes later,  when Karim Benzema broke the deadlock courtesy of the very bizarre goal.

However, the Reds would not go down without a fight as Real’s lead only lasted two minutes before an excellent break  saw Sadio Mane net from close range to draw his side level at 1-1.

Just after the hour mark, Zinedine Zidane made a tactical change, replacing Isco with Bale, and it turned out an inspired move.

Two minutes after coming on, the Welshman restored Real’s lead with a goal of the season contender, a superb bicycle kick goal that left Loris Karius lost in no man’s land.

It was all Real thereafter, as they pegged Liverpool back in their own half and seven minutes from time, the Spanish giants sealed victory with their third goal of the night.

The man of the moment, Bale, struck a powerful shot, which stung the hands of Karius, forcing the goalkeeper into another howler, as he spilled the ball into his own net.

Bale becomes the first substitute to score two times in the final of the CL.

The defending champions held on for the win, becoming the first team to win the CL for a record 13th time.

“A player comes on and does what he does,” Zidane said of Bale after the match. “What do you want me to say? Everyone deserves this final, him too.”

With the win, Zidane becomes not just the third manager to win the CL three times but also  the first to win it three times in a row.

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