Sheriff FC stun Madrid; Prove that football is not played on paper
There is no doubt, FC Sheriff’s victory against Los Blancos is arguably the greatest upset in a UCL match in recent times. Before yesterday’s game at BERNABEU, the Moldovan side had never featured in Europe’s biggest club competition.
However, they are topping the table that comprises the club that has lifted this trophy more times than any other team. From a glance, the visitors looked like a random collection of unknown players plying their trade in an obscure league, but they authenticated their relevance last night.
This was possible with a combination of determined players coupled with a manager’s game plan that ensured that the unknown became known to the football world. I guess folks will start taking them seriously from henceforth.
Having such belief in themselves that they could produce what is arguably the biggest upset in the competition’s history is nothing short of a wonder.
It looked like a David versus Goliath fixture on paper before the game, Madrid were expected to demolish the Moldovan debutants who had their first win against Shakhtar Donetsk in their first UEFA champion league campaign in group D.
However, yesterday’s result AGAINST the most decorated club in UCL history had everyone whispering and mumbling, what if the competition debutants do it again?
The visitors took the lead in the 25th minutes of the encounter, a goal from Jasurbek Yakhshiboev took people by surprise and the expectation of seeing Madrid returning the favor did not come until the 61st minute when Vinicius Junior was brought down inside the box.
VAR was checked to confirm the possibility of a penalty and It was given. Karim Benzema took the penalty kick and scored. It was expected that Madrid would win from that moment but the visitors were too hard to break down.
Regardless, Sebastien Thill’s goal sealed the show for Sheriff in the 89th minute and Madrid were unable to do anything to change the result.
With over 32 shots and 11 on target, Madrid were denied the chance to climb to the top of the group D table, thanks to FC Sheriff goalkeeper Giorgos Athanasiadis who was also the man of the match for his outstanding outing.
There were countless excellent moments but if it wasn’t for the Greece sweeper between the sticks, this game could well have been way beyond the Moldovan powerhouse.
The on-loan sweeper from AEK Athens was nothing short of a human brick wall that put his whole effort on the line repeatedly during the game. It would have been a different story entirely if it wasn’t for him.
A minnow from Moldova showed the world that football isn’t played on paper but the pitch with superior tactics.
The other match in Group D was Shakhtar Donetsk against Inter Milan of Italy, the home side were solid and too difficult for the Italian champion. They share the spoils as the tie ended in a goalless draw.
FC Sheriff with a perfect record are topping group D with 6 points, having recorded two wins in two games so far, they look like a club that’d move to the next round which is round of 16 against all odds, no one would have thought of seeing a relatively unknown name like Sheriff causing an upset against a household name like Real Madrid in European football.
Madrid is second with 3 points, having defeated inter Milan 0-1 at San Siro in their first UEFA game away from home.
Inter and Shakhtar Donetsk are third and fourth respectively with a point each. Would Madrid qualify from this group or end up in the second tier of European football for the first time in years?
Will Sheriff Tiraspol be able to maintain the momentum and make it to the next stage or fizzle out in the coming games?
Lots of questions are being raised and the result was unprecedented, but this is a football game, upsets are bound to happen once in a while.