LORIS Karius was the villain for Liverpool, while Gareth Bale scored one of the greatest goals seen in Champions League history as Real Madrid notched an incredible 13th title.

In an extraordinary final, Liverpool were rocked by a devastating first-half injury to star Mohammad Salah that could leave the Egyptian's World Cup hopes in doubt.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (r) goes down hard under the challange from Sergio Ramos.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (r) goes down hard under the challange from Sergio Ramos.

And while the first half was a goalless arm wrestle, the second half produced even more drama as Karius produced two mind-boggling howlers - and Bale etched his name into Champions League history as Real Madrid triumphed 3-1 to claim the biggest prize in European football.

Bale, controversially benched by Zinedine Zidane, was introduced into the game in the 61st minute with scores level at 1-1.

Within three minutes he'd sent the crowd at Kiev's Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex into raptures with a spectacular, athletic bicycle kick which gave Real Madrid the lead.

Gareth Bale celebrates scoring one of the greatest Champions League final goals.
Gareth Bale celebrates scoring one of the greatest Champions League final goals.

Earlier, Real Madrid had taken the lead through a stunning howler from Karius who cleaned up a simple ball - only to roll it into the path of Karim Benzema, who stuck his foot out and poked it into the goal.

Karius' blushes were, briefly, spared when Sadio Mane tapped home four minutes later following a pinpoint James Milner corner.

But more was to come.

On the 83rd minute, Bale sealed the final with another winding long-range effort, but it should've been saved by Karius who produced his second blunder.

Bale rocketed a shot from long distance and it appeared comfortably in Karius' grasp, before bursting through his fingers.

Liverpool were firmly on top in the first half hour but the entire match has shifted on the back of the cruel shoulder injury to Reds star Mo Salah.

Salah got tangled up in a hard challenge from Real's Spanish defender Sergio Ramos and the result was a heavy landing on the point of his left shoulder.

He tried to play on but lasted just one more minute before succumbing to the pain and leaving the field in tears.

Madrid's Dani Carvajal followed just five minutes later, appearing to reinjure his Achilles. He too left the field in tears as the final became as much a battle of attrition as anything.

Real had the better of the final 15 minutes before the break, pushing forward and taking control.

More drama was to come, as Real appeared to open the scoring only to be denied by the linesman.

Karim Benzema wheeled away in celebration after poking home past Liverpool's Loris Karius, who had parried a ball in his direction after saving a headed attempt from Cristiano Ronaldo.

But replays showed Ronaldo had been offside before getting his header away, and the goal was correctly waved away.

News Corp Australia

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