Gareth Bale’s two goals off the bench — one a wonder, the other a blunder — gave Real Madrid a 3-1 victory in the Champions League final on Saturday.
Bale came in the 61st minute to replace Isco. Few minutes after, his impact was felt as he lashed on a cross by Marcelo and with a bicycle kick, found the right side of the net.
The goal put Madrid ahead, after Sane had neutralized Benzema’s 51st minute goal, which arose from a blooper by Liverpool keeper, Loris Karius.
In the 83rd minute, Bale was on song again, with a shot from outside the box to the keeper of Liverpool, Karius, who failed to control the ball and found it slipping into the net, for Bsle’s second goal of the night.
The victory was Madrid’s third in a row in the tournament, a feat unseen in the competition since Bayern Munich won three consecutive European Cups from 1974-76. It gave Madrid 13 titles over all, extending its Champions League record, and four in the past five years.
Liverpool, playing in the final for the first time since 2007, lost its star striker Mohamed Salah to a shoulder injury in the first half hour, and while it gave a game effort — tying the score at 1-1 early in the second half — Real Madrid’s relentlessness and unmatched depth simply wore them down.
You really have to salute Bale, who has scored two wonderful goals in yet another Champions League final. But you also have to feel for Loris Karius, a 24-year-old German who wrested the starting job away from Simon Mignolet this season.
It’s tough to live down a gigantic mistake in a Champions League final. Imagine what it’ll be like to live with two of them.