There is a new Sheriff in town, in Madrid specifically. A major surprise at the Santiago Bernabéu the day the Champions League returned to it 580 days later. Defeat of Real Madrid against the debutant of this edition of the competition that caught Carlo Ancelotti’s men against foot. A goal from Thill in the 90th minute left the whites dry, who already suffered to draw. [Narración y estadísticas: Real Madrid 1-2 Sheriff]
It was rumored that it would be a day of rotations at Real Madrid, but Carlo Ancelotti wanted the return of the Champions League to the Santiago Bernabéu to be with a team as similar as possible to the gala team. Within what is clear, since it was an ideal appointment to rest a player like Luka Modric. The young Miguel Gutiérrez and Camavinga, in addition to Hazard, after two games on the bench, were the novelties.
Ahead was the Sheriff for which, surely, it was the most important game in its 24-year history. That is to say, a younger club than he writes this chronicle was planted in the white coliseum with nothing to lose and much to gain. But let no one think that he was coming to Madrid to walk around, let them tell him but Shakthar Donestk who won 2-0 against the team from Transnistria on the first day, a self-proclaimed independent republic not recognized by the international community.
The game started with the expected argument. Real Madrid liked each other from the beginning and besieged the rival area during the first minutes of the game. The ones who had the most fun were the little ones: Miguel Gutiérrez, Camavinga and Vinicius. The three, whose average age was 19.6 years, made the left wing the focus of greatest white danger at the start of the crash.
The one who was good throughout the first half was Hazard. Settled at the top of the attack with Karim Benzema, both returned to show that if their society has not curdled so far, it has only been due to the lack of continuity of the Belgian due to injuries. Madrid’s ‘7’ was seen with rhythm and offering himself throughout the offensive front, being the Ancelotti player who caused the most fouls in the first 45 minutes.
The visitors stuck to what was their turn. They were charged with fouls early, but the first yellow card did not arrive until the 17th minute. It went to Arboleda. From that action came the clearest opportunity for Real Madrid so far: a free kick by Benzema that forced Athanasiadis to make a great stretch. It would not be, far from it, the last intervention of the Greek goal.
Sheriff shot first
But who shot first (the simile is done alone) was the Sheriff. Unexpected. In the first attempt of the Moldovans. Cristiano, who was applauded before the game with the characteristic ‘siuuu’ of the other Cristiano, the ‘real’, launched the counter and put a precise cross into the area that the Uzbek Yakhshiboev finished off even better.
The Bernabéu was speechless, which was having a good time until then. The scorer, who did not believe it, put his hands to his face during the celebration. Whoever looked at the classification table then would believe it even less: the Sheriff, a newcomer in the competition, leading alone a group in which between Real Madrid and Inter Milan there are 16 ‘Orejonas’ and there is also a Shakhtar who for years got used to playing this competition.
Madrid was in shock after both rival and did not react until he saw the ears of the wolf, when the second of the Sheriff almost came after a left-footed shot from, again, Yakhshiboev that left brushing the stick. From then on, Madrid’s chances fell in a whirlwind before a Bernabéu that practically forgot the scoreboard and vibrated with each ‘oops’. The whites were left without a prize and look what they tried.
Ancelotti did not touch anything after the break. The 11 at the beginning had to be the 11 who had to fix what threatened to be the bombshell of the season. Of course, the watch was going to weigh more and more and each missed occasion would make the nervousness grow.
Two penalties, one whistle
For those who feared the worst, the white goal did not take long (65 ‘). The author was Benzema and he arrived from the penalty spot after a fall by Vinicius in the area that the referee had to review in the VAR. There was contact as there was also in another action that occurred a minute before and in which the Brazilian, again he, was the victim of a tackle. That one was eaten by the referee. Benzema, by the way, overcame the myth Raúl González with this goal and became the fourth top scorer in the Champions League.
After the meeting time, Madrid had to go yes or yes for the victory and Ancelotti put fresh meat on the field. Four changes in one go: Modric, Kroos, Jovic and Rodrygo for Casemiro, Miguel, Hazard and Nacho. With only two defenders and Valverde and Camavinga on the wings, the merengues’ offense was total.
There was fright. The Sheriff was annulled for offside of course a goal that made people put their hands to their heads. False alarm. In the other area, the protagonist was Athanasiadis who even put his face to prevent the ball from entering his goal. Jovic, who did not take the opportunity, missed a clear chance.
A feat in the 90 ‘
And what happened, also now, nobody imagined. With the game totally turned upside down in the visiting team’s midfield, the only time his players got close to Courtois’s goal, Thill took a volley cannon shot and beat the Belgian goalkeeper through the square. With a Sheriff who did not want to wake up from what seemed like a dream came the end of the game.
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