Bale brilliance powers Real to 13th European crown

Saturday, May 26, 2018

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KIEV, Ukraine (AFP) — Gareth Bale scored twice including an incredible overhead kick after coming off the bench as Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 in the Champions League final in Kiev on Saturday.

Karim Benzema struck a bizarre opening goal after an error by goalkeeper Loris Karius on 51 minutes before Liverpool, who lost leading scorer Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, replied through Sadio Mane.

Bale replaced Isco on the hour and connected with an outrageous acrobatic effort on 64 minutes to put Real back in front.

The Welshman sealed a record-extending 13th European Cup title for Real with seven minutes left as another dreadful mistake from Karius allowed his long-range shot to find the net.

"It has to be (my best goal), a Champions League final, there's no bigger stage," Bale said.

"Very disappointed not to start the game; I felt like I deserved it. The best I could do was to come on and make an impact, and I did."

Real boss Zinedine Zidane became the first coach to win the Champions Leagues in three consecutive seasons, having only taken charge of the team in January 2016.

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