It was David against Goliath and, as in the Bible – but rarely in the Champions League – David won. Real Madrid were defeated 2-1 at home by Sheriff Tiraspol on Tuesday 28 September for the second day of the championship.
Sebastien Thill’s half-volley from the left, who came to live in the top corner, will be remembered: with this sublime goal in the 90’se minute, the Luxembourgish defeated the most successful club in the competition at home, and offered the match to Sheriff Tiraspol for his first participation in the competition.
It is an unexpected setback for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, after an idyllic start to the season, which saw them fly over La Liga and win their first C1 match on Inter Milan (1-0). And all the more so since this day marked the return of the Champions League to the Santiago-Bernabeu stadium.
The first blow came at the 25e minute: after a bright opening, Cristiano, another left winger of the same name of the famous Portuguese, sent a long cross from the left to the far post, which Jasur Jakhshibaev picked up with a header to send him into the small net of Thibaut Courtois, throwing freezing cold in the stadium.
The striker sprinted towards the corner post, taking his face in his hands, incredulous: he had just opened the scoring against the club in the 13 Champions Leagues.
A few minutes later, at the 32e, this same Jakhshibaev has a second chance: after a poor recovery from Courtois, out of his line, the Uzbek striker brushes a shot that shaves the right amount of the Belgian goalkeeper.
The Guardian of the Irreproachable Sheriff
The Madrilenians then saw the light again after the equalizer of their captain Karim Benzema, who transformed a penalty caused by Vinicius in the 64e, But it was not enough
Although they often camped in the half of Sheriff Tiraspol, the Madrileños did not manage to escape. The Bernabeu crowd cheered their players on, and Carlo Ancelotti’s men might have returned to the attack, multiplying the chances, they found an irreproachable Georgios Athanasiadis in the opposing goal.
The leaping Greek goalkeeper of the Sheriff even made a face save which required the intervention of the doctors, on a strike at close range from Luka Modric, entered during the game. Georgios Athanasiadis will be decisive throughout the match, saving again his on this resumption of Luka Jovic at the very end of the game.
For the merengues, the rout is total. For the Sheriff, on the contrary, it’s a party night. This modest club from Transnistria, a pro-Russian separatist enclave which seceded from Moldova in 1991 after the fall of the USSR, does not fail to surprise for its first participation in the queen of European competitions. After a first 2-0 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk (the club that beat Real 3-2 last year in C1), the Sheriff is even leader of Group D after two days. This makes you want to know the rest of the story.