Sheriff Tiraspol’s Moldovan club claimed a remarkable 2-1 Champions League victory over Real Madrid on Tuesday, taking a surprise victory thanks to a sensational strike in the 89th minute from Sebastien Thill.
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Competitive debutants Sheriff beat the 13-time European champions in the 25th minute with a header from Uzbek midfielder Jasurbek Yakhshiboev, who narrowly missed the opportunity to double the visitors’ lead later in the first half time.
Sheriff closed with a +2700 odds at Caesars Sportsbook, making him the biggest underdog to win in the last three Champions League seasons. The previous biggest upset was Shakhtar Donetsk who beat Madrid in the group stage last year at +1300 odds.
“It’s the type of game where when you have full control, it’s the little details that decide it. It 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, an unnecessary foul … They cost you dearly. We lost and the team did not deserve it, honestly, for what we did “, said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Real dominated the game in both halves but needed a penalty to equalize. Karim Benzema buried his kick in the top corner in the 65th minute after Vinicius Jr was shot and given a penalty following a VAR exam, being denied a kick after a previous review a few moments earlier.
Real substitute Luka Jovic spoiled a great chance for the hosts to win, but the sheriff quickly descended to the other side and after a throw-in the ball fell on Luxembourg midfielder Thill, who landed a fatal shot in the far upper corner.
Sheriff, from the unrecognized breakaway state of Transnistria, leads Champions League Group D with six points in two games while Madrid are second with three.
Sheriff went through four qualifying rounds to become the first Moldovan team to play in the group stage of the European elite club competition, and surprised a very experienced Champions League side at Shakhtar Donetsk to win their match. opening 2-0.
They faced an undefeated Real side and were outplayed for most of the game, but got the best result in their 24-year history, making the most of their few chances and building on a few first saves. shot of Greek keeper Georgios Athanasiadis.
Real got off to a good start and Vinicius and Benzema each came close to giving them the advantage, Athanasiadis making the first of many saves to tip a scathing shot from Benzema over the bar.
But Ancelotti’s side were outdone on the block when Cristiano knocked down the left wing and crossed towards Yakhshiboev, who did not score, who headed for the net.
Real continued to threaten, with Benzema and Vinicius each shooting right off the target before half-time, although Yakhshiboev could have scored again on the other end following a glaring error from hosts’ keeper Thibaut Courtois.
The Spaniards looked set to win the game after Benzema equalized on the spot, but Sheriff had the ball in the net again through substitute Bruno, although the goal was ruled out for offside.
Luka Modric was then foiled by Athanasiadis, who saved a shot from the Croatian in the face, before Brazilian striker Rodrygo narrowly shot over the bar.
A true winner seemed inevitable, but instead fell on the other end when Thill tried his luck from the edge of the box, scoring the most important goal in his club’s brief history.
“The sheriff defended well, very tight at the back. They made us go out. concentrated, ”added Ancelotti.