A goal worthy of the occasion. Real Madrid and Liverpool's battle in Kiev took a crucial turn after a Gareth Bale sensation put the Spanish kings in the driving seat and on course for a third Champions League title. He followed it up shortly after, thanks to a Loris Karius howler, to put the tie to bed.
Soon after his introduction, the first chance fell to Bale. It hardly resembled a chance, he was initially moving towards goal and had to push off his right foot to turn into the ball. Bale tossed up his right to generate momentum for his left and pinged the ball into the top corner.
It was a goal that devastated Liverpool fans, and stunned the rest of the world.
— Michael Ballack (@Ballack) May 26, 2018
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) May 26, 2018
Gareth Bale's goal might just be the best goal in Champions League history. Certainly up there with Zidane's in the final over a decade ago and even better than Ronaldo's goal against Juventus. Such a shame Bale can't stay healthy, such an incredible player.
— EiF (@EiFSoccer) May 26, 2018
Genuinely a shame if that Bale goal doesn't win it. Given the occasion and the context, it's actually one of the best goals of all time.
— Steven (@StevenMcinerney) May 26, 2018
Only one player scored faster in a CL final after coming on as a substitute than Bale (2 min 8 sec.). In 1997, Lars Ricken scored for Borussia Dortmund in the 71st minute after coming on as a sub in the 70th minute. #UCLfinal
— Gracenote Live (@GracenoteLive) May 26, 2018
2-1 Madrid - Bale with a bicycle kick which, on first glance, is the best goal ever.
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 26, 2018
The strike left Liverpool, without star Salah, with it all to do if they are to halt the Spanish giants march towards immorality. They weren't helped afterward when Karius fumbled his goalbound effort to make it 3-1.
Nightmare day for Karius
— Haber İngiltere (@Haberingiltere) May 26, 2018
And with that, Loris Karius's name passes into football history as shorthand for a calamitous goalkeeping display. It is a cruel game.
— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) May 26, 2018
Bale's shot is from miles out. Karius....just loses it completely. Fumbles it behind himself and in. Heartbreaking.
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) May 26, 2018
In the end, it was Bale's introduction that won Real Madrid the game. Liverpool fans were left to bemoan their absent star striker, and their unfortunate, semi-present goalkeeper.