The competition newcomers showed that they would be no pushovers in their debut group match two weeks ago by defeating Shakhtar Donetsk in Tiraspol.
Ancelotti’s men failed to impress
Moldovan champions Sheriff managed one of the most remarkable results in Champions League history on Tuesday as they upset 13-time winners Real Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu. The competition newcomers showed that they would be no pushovers in their debut group match two weeks ago by defeating Shakhtar Donetsk in Tiraspol. But even the players themselves seemed barely able to believe it as they celebrated their triumph over the Spanish giants. Madrid had also kicked off their Champions League quest with three points, on the road against Inter, and could have been forgiven for expecting a straightforward evening in front of their own fans. But despite dominating possession Carlo Ancelotti’s men failed to impress and spent much of the game losing to their unheralded rivals in Madrid’s first-ever match against Moldovan opposition.
Real Madrid lost because of the small details
Striker Jasurbek Yakhshiboev sounded the first alarm for the Merengue when he headed Sheriff ahead 25 minutes into the first half. The hosts racked up no less than 13 shots in the opening 45 minutes but could find no way past Georgios Athanasiadis, who had a night to remember between the posts. Just past the hour mark, it seemed nevertheless that Madrid would recover from that early scare, as Karim Benzema converted from the penalty spot to level at 1-1. But there was still time for one more twist, courtesy of Luxembourg international Sebastien Thill. The midfielder smashed home a brilliant half-volley in the 90th minute to restore Sheriff’s advantage, and they were able to see out the final nerve-wracking moments to claim victory. “More than worried we are sad,” Ancelotti said after the game. “We played with intensity, commitment. We lost because of the small details.
“The team played well. We could be finer in the final third, but it is difficult to explain.” Added Casemiro in an interview: “This is football; they have shot twice and scored two goals. There are many ways to lose, and I think we played a good game. Here the requirement is always to win, but we know that we are on the right track.” Located in the de facto independent Transnistria region of Moldova, Sheriff have taken the long way to Champions League success. The club entered the competition way back in the first qualifying round and played no fewer than eight games to book their place in the group stage. They have also made a solid start to their domestic campaign, winning six of their opening eight fixtures as they seek to win their seventh consecutive Moldovan National Division title.