UEFA Champions League 2017/18, Final – Real Madrid vs Liverpool – Match Review
The city of Kyiv, Ukraine hosted the biggest game of the year as far as club football is concerned, with Real Madrid and Liverpool locking horns against each other for the UEFA Champions League Title 2017-2018.
It was also the clash of the Titans, as many viewed it as a face-off between icons, Mohammad Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The stakes were high, as Real Madrid intended to win their third consecutive Champions League title, joining the likes of Bayern Munich and Ajax Amsterdam.
Starting off, the first twenty minutes of the game shifted from one end to the other, with both the teams struggling for possession and accuracy.
23rd minute – The game saw its first shot on target with Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold having a shy. Navas had to make a save to avoid Arnold a goal.
25th minute – In hindsight, the turning point for Liverpool came when their ace striker, Mohammad Salah collided with the mercurial Sergio Ramos.
Salah took a bad blow to his shoulder and immediately left the pitch, leaving the army of Reds in shock.
29th minute – Salah came back onto the field after tending his shoulder, but could only stay for a minute before weeping his way out of the ground.
34th minute – The game saw yet another casualty, but this time from the Real Madrid’s camp. Carvajal, who went tumbling down from a tackle, suffered a horrible hamstring injury, which did not allow him to take part further in the contest.
Much like Salah, Carvajal too cried his way off the pitch, jeopardizing their chances for the upcoming World Cup in Russia.
42nd minute – The White Sharks had their first opportunity, just at the stroke of half-time, from Ronaldo’s header and then Benzema. The French netted the ball inside the goal, but it was deemed as offside.
Half Time score: RM 0-0 LIV
After an uneventful first half, the real action began in the second, where both sides went on the offence.
48th minute – Lallana, who was substituted for Salah, almost made a meal of a challenge, just in front of the goal, giving Isco an opportunity to strike for Real Madrid.
Fortunately for the Reds, the ball hit the top bar of the goal, devoiding an opportunity for the Spanish to strike for the first time in the match.
50th minute – German international, Kroos, delivered a challenging volley which went straight to Liverpool goalkeeper, Loris Karius.
Benzema intercepted a pass from Karius to his defender, which went straight inside the goal, leaving one and all befuddled with his rookie mistake.
Score: RM 1-0 LIV (Benzema 50′)
54th minute – Before the Whites could get over the celebrations; the Reds delivered a fabulous counterattack through Milner, who provided an opportunity with his dangerous cross.
Madrid’s defender Varane tried to evade the ball with a header before Firmino missed the nets. A corner kick was awarded for Firmino’s effort.
Henderson took a brilliant kick towards Lovren who smacked the ball with a header. Navas made a brilliant save, but the ball ricocheted off him, giving an opportunity to Senegal’s Sadio Mane, who obliged with his equalizers.
In Comes Gareth Bale
Score: RM 1-1 LIV (Mane 54′)
64th minute – Zinedine Zidane’s move to substitute Isco with Gareth Bale in the 61st paid dividends almost instantly, as Bale scored within three minutes of substitution.
Bale scored the best goal in the history of UCL finals with his overhead bicycle kick from a brilliant Marcelo volley, which the goalkeeper had no answer to. Thereby, giving the lead to Madrid.
Score: RM 2-1 LIV (Bale 64′)
70th minute – Mane tried to repeat his feat with another counterattack. The Senegalese made a brilliant turning attempt with his left foot, which hit the right post of Navas.
82nd minute – In a match full of tackles and tumbles, the first yellow card registered in the dying moments of the game. Also, Ramos showed all his experience to wait for Mane’s challenge which got the Liverpool striker a yellow card.
84th minute – The final nail in Liverpool’s coffin came from Gareth Bale again who scored from way outside the box, with the swirling strike.
To add to Karius’ horror outing, the ball went through his hands, giving Real Madrid their third goal.
Score: RM 3-1 LIV (Bale 84′)
The final few minutes of the game saw both teams going through the motion. Despite three minutes of additional time, there was no surprise in store.
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