Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to win Champions League

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Real Madrid celebrate winning the Champions League with the trophy. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)
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Real Madrid's Gareth Bale scores the team's second goal on the 64th minute of their Champion's League final match with Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday night. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)
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Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their third goal. (REUTERS/Andrew Boyers)
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Real Madrid's players celebrate after their Welsh forward Gareth Bale scored the the 3-1 during the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on May 26, 2018. (AFP / Sergei Supoinsky)
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Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino look dejected after Real Madrid's Gareth Bale scores their third goal. (REUTERS/Andrew Boyers)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to win Champions League

  • Real Madrid is the first team to achieve that feat since Bayern Munich in 1976. This is their fourth title in five years, and their 13th overall.
  • Jurgen Klopp’s and Liverpool’s own evening was marred by the loss of a distraught Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, the Egyptian coming off half an hour in having damaged his shoulder.

KIEV, Ukraine: Gareth Bale’s eye-catching scissor-kick helped Real Madrid to a third successive Champions League title on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over a Liverpool side thwarted by a pair of goalkeeping blunders and Mohamed Salah being forced off injured.

Bale’s jaw-dropping overhead kick put Real 2-1 up moments after his introduction, following a dramatic start to the second half in which Karim Benzema gave Real the lead as a result of a Loris Karius howler.

Sadio Mane had briefly restored parity, but Bale put Real in front again and then made it 3-1 late on with a long-range strike that the unfortunate Karius could only punch into the net.

Jurgen Klopp’s and Liverpool’s own evening was marred by the loss of a distraught Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, the Egyptian coming off half an hour in having damaged his shoulder.

This was not to be Salah’s night, with Real allowing Zinedine Zidane to become the first coach ever to win the Champions League three years in a row.

Madrid is the first team to achieve that feat since Bayern Munich in 1976. This is their fourth title in five years, and their 13th overall.

Cristiano Ronaldo has now won five in his great career, but even he could not argue that this was Bale’s evening.

The Welshman had been tipped to feature in the Real starting line-up but in the end was left out for Isco — just as he had been in the final win over Juventus last year — before making an emphatic impact as a substitute.

For Liverpool, this game will be remembered for the disaster that befell goalkeeper Karius in the second half, and for Salah’s tears as he departed the pitch at the NSC Olympiyskyi.

The Egyptian hurt his left shoulder as he went down in a challenge with Sergio Ramos in the 25th minute. Five minutes later he made way for Adam Lallana.

His presence at the World Cup could now be in doubt, as could that of Dani Carvajal — the Real right-back came off with a hamstring injury before the interval.

Those injuries temporarily took the sting out of the game after an enthralling start, with Liverpool on top.

It had been uncomfortable for Real, but after Salah departed, they sensed their chance. They even had the ball in the net in the 43rd minute, only to be denied by a marginal offside call.

Ronaldo’s header from Isco’s cross was parried by Karius, and Benzema turned in the loose ball, but the Frenchman had come from a fraction ahead of the last defender and the flag came up.

If that was a let-off for Liverpool, they were their own worst enemies at the start of the second half.

Isco struck the bar after Lallana diverted the ball into his path, before Benzema opened the scoring in the 51st minute.

It was a moment of unbelievable carelessness from Karius, who attempted to roll the ball out to the nearest red shirt only for Benzema to stick out a leg and send it trickling into the net.

Klopp’s side really could have let their heads drop, and yet they were soon back level, Mane turning the ball in after Dejan Lovren headed down James Milner’s corner.

But their renewed hope was crushed upon the introduction of Bale.

The Welshman had been on the field barely two minutes when he met Marcelo’s cross from the left with an improbable leap, back to goal, 15 yards out, to send an overhead kick on his left foot arcing over Karius and in.

Such a strike deserved to be the winner, although it was his long-range shot that beat the embarrassed Karius in the 83rd minute that made sure of the victory.

Mane hit the post for Liverpool in between Bale’s strikes, but they will have to wait a while yet before winning their sixth European Cup.


Al-Nassr ready to challenge for title after signing Brazilian Giuliano

Updated 21 August 2018
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Al-Nassr ready to challenge for title after signing Brazilian Giuliano

  • Riyadh club have not won the title since 2015 and have set their stall out to win it for the ninth time.
  • Brazilian Giuliano is the latest star to sign for Al-Nassr, joining Nigeria international Ahmed Musa.

LONDON: Al-Nassr are ready to challenge for the Saudi Pro League title after a busy summer in the transfer market and elsewhere. That is the message from the Riyadh club who have their sights set on reclaiming the title they last won in 2015.
The side finished third last season but under the energetic leadership of new president Saud Al-Suwailem, the eight time champions ended the transfer window on Monday by confirming the signing of former 
Brazilian international Giuliano from 
Fenerbahce for a fee of €10 million ($11.5 million).
It is the second biggest deal that Al-Nassr have done since the end of last season after the Ahmed Musa transfer, the Nigerian international arriving in early August from Leicester City Premier League. And having seen the 28-year-old attacking midfielder score 14 goals in the Turkish league last season, the club feel Giuliano is a great addition to their expanding squad.
Not only that, the club has brought in former Liverpool and Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones, former Watford star and Morocco international Nordin Amrabat, Peru international defender Christian Ramos and also welcome back Saudi star Yahya Al-Shehri from his loan in Spain.
“We are very happy with the squad going into the new season,” an Al-Nassr official told Arab News.
“It was already a good one but we have strengthened in every area and especially have added some very exciting attacking players. If the coach can get the new signings to settle quickly then we could have a good season.”
There is no automatic demand for the title but an improvement on last season when Al-Nassr finished 12 points behind champions and Riyadh rivals Al-Hilal is required.
“We know that it won’t be easy as the top teams all look to be stronger after spending on some good talent from overseas,” added the official.
“We want to be challenging for the title, that is where we should be. It helps that we also have a coach that has done it before.”
For Al-Nassr, the return of Jose Daniel Carreno could be a game-changer. The Uruguayan tactician had a successful spell with the club and lifted the 2013 league title and the Crown Prince Cup in the same year. He returned to the club in March and his knowledge of Al-Nassr and the league is seen as vital.
“I think the changes to the team have been of great benefit,” Carreno said after last week’s 2-1 win at UAE side Al-Jazira in the Arab Champions Cup. “We have more firepower going forward and we will look to be aggressive and put teams on the backfoot, and press higher up the pitch than before.
“There is still work to do but we are moving to where we want to be. The league is going to be tough this time with Al-Hilal looking strong and signing players, and Al-Ittihad will not have the kind of season they had last time but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
There have been developments off the pitch too. President Al-Suwailem was appointed in April and has been working hard to improve standards at the club and increase revenues.
Earlier this month, the president went to the UAE to sign a four year sponsorship deal with Etihad Airlines that is reportedly worth SR50 million ($13.34 million) a year.
“There is more energy at all levels of the club,” said the official.
“Of course, it depends on what happens when the season starts but we can’t wait for the season to start.”