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26th May 2018

Loris Karius errors gift Champions League to Real Madrid

A heartbreaking defeat on a night when everything went wrong for Liverpool

Wayne Farry

Their utter domination of the Champions League continues

Real Madrid have beaten Liverpool to seal their third consecutive Champions League victory, 12 months after becoming the first team to win consecutive Champions League titles.

Zinedine Zidane’s side came into the final as favourites, but would have been wary of an exciting Liverpool team whose front three, in particular, have exhilarated fans throughout this year’s competition.

Ahead of the game, Cristiano Ronaldo had amassed a stunning 15 goals in the competition, and yet again he proved pivotal as Madrid continued their relentless domination of European football.

In the end, it was less about Real Madrid’s attacking threat and more about the errors of Liverpool’s goalkeeper Loris Karius, who gifted two goals to the holders in a game which was marred early for the Reds after Mohamed Salah went off with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

The German goalkeeper came into the game with six clean sheets but suffered the sort of stage fright that most footballers would only experience in their nightmares.

His first error came 50 minutes into the game, after he collected a ball played up to Karim Benzema. Turning to his right to throw the ball out to Trent Alexander-Arnold, Karius ended up hitting Benzema instead, after the striker had stuck out his leg.

The ball bobbled into the net and the world was disbelieving.

Liverpool’s resolve was strong though and they equalised almost immediately with Sadio Mane, who poked the ball home from close range after 54 minutes.

What followed was one of the greatest moments of individual quality you’re likely to see in a final. It came from Gareth Bale, who had been introduced in the 60th minute.

His goal – which saw him bicycle kick a Marcelo cross past Karius – will live long in the memory.

Liverpool continued to press despite going down and Mane was as close as the width of a post to equalising, but in the end it was another Karius error, this time from a Bale shot from long range, which sealed it for Madrid.

Liverpool will be proud of their efforts, but in the end the  Spaniards’ quality and Loris Karius’ mistakes mean that they retain the trophy yet again.