|Unreal! Sheriff Tiraspol stormed past Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday in the champions league. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)
Stranger things have happened, especially in football where the best of teams collapse at the biggest of stages, and the champions league enjoys serving the juiciest of shocks, Tuesday night at the theatre of the beautiful game, Santiago Bernabeu… There’s a new Sherriff in town!
Real Madrid hosted Moldovan side Sherriff Tiraspol in the second group game with expectations of a routine win, on paper you expect the Spanish giants to dust the team that was founded in 1997 even with a second string side but football happened.
Breaking into the group stages of the champions league for the first time ever, Sherriff Tiraspol sent signals with a 2-0 win over Shakter Donesk in the first game and if you ever thought that was a fluke, they took the same energy to the 13 time champions.
Sherriff took the lead in the 25th minute with a fine header that flew across Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and you expect the hosts to run riot from there with a reaction of note but an equalizer didn’t come until after the hour mark.
Vinicius Jr had been denied a clear penalty earlier but after VAR review, a penalty was awarded in the 65th minute and Karim Benzema found the top corner to draw level, Real Madrid dominated heavily but the visitors’ goalkeeper, on loan from AEK Athens Georgios Athanasiadis stood firm with ten saves.
"We believed we could win. I spoke to my teammates as captain, motivating them, saying 'why not dream?' This is football," Sheriff Tiraspol captain Frank Castaneda said. "Real Madrid are historic but on the pitch it's 11 vs. 11. We went for the win and got it."
"I'm really happy," he said. "It's very difficult to play against these teams, the best in the world. I'm emotional, if I carry on talking much longer, I'll end up crying."
"It's the type of game where when you have total control it's the little details that decide it," said Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti. "That cost us the game. It can be a good lesson for the future, a game like this, the details cost you. A throw in, a cross, a corner, a pointless foul... They cost you. We lost and the team didn't deserve it, honestly, for what we did."
The sensational winner was a worldie, after substitute Luka Jovic missed a glorious chance to win it for Real Madrid, the visitors went the other way right at the death and a screamer from Luxembourg midfielder.
The win took the
Moldovan side to the top of the group, just for context and further clarity,
the group has 13 time champions Real Madrid and Inter Milan. One more win by
Sherriff and two of these teams, including Ukrainian giants Shaktar Donesk would