In a historic upset at Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid suffered a shock drubbing at the hands of Moldovan outfit, Sheriff Tiraspol. In a more or less lopsided encounter, the Spanish giants did everything right barring the goals.
Without detracting anything from the Moldovan side, who punched heroically above their weight to stun the thirteen-time European champions, two moments of individualistic brilliance from the dark horses sealed the fate of the day.
Despite coming close in the early stages of the game, Real couldn’t break free from the shackles that were imposed on them by the visitors. After some intensified pinballing Sheriff’s Jasurbek Yakshiboev headed home from close range following a scouring cross from Cristiano.
Following the goal, Real was galvanized into further salvo only to compel a few electrifying saves from the Sheriff custodian, Athanasiadis and a handful of squandered efforts those were either dragged wide or bundled into a scrimmage of defenders.
The change of ends was marked by increasing gung-ho from the hosts as Sheriff ended up conceding a penalty after incessant pressure from Madrid. Benzema tucked it into the top corner of the net that restored world order for Real but the real drama was still to unfold.
Despite all the pressure in the world, the Sheriff’s rearguard stood tall and belted out a masterclass in the rearguard to sail to the top of the table. It needed a world-class screamer from Sebastien Thill to finally hammer down the Real defences as the Luxembourgish marksman whipped out a thunderbolt to surge Sheriff ahead for the second time in the game.
Though these are just the initial stages of the league and it is pretty obvious that Real Madrid will be overcoming these shortcomings without any ado at all as the club’s preceding reputation suggests, yet this night will stay etched onto Sheriff’s memories in golden words.
In this story, we will quickly take a look at the dark horses who inflicted defeats upon Los Merengues in recent times and how these defeats proved to be inconsequential in the latter stages.
#1 Real Madrid 2-3 Shakhtar Donetsk, 2020-21
This was a tale of two contrasting halves as the Ukrainian stalwarts stomped over the necks of Real Madrid in the opening half of the game. Tete opened the scoring for Donetsk after latching onto an assist by Viktor Kornienko while Varane’s own goal doubled the cushion for Shakhtar. Manor Solomon struck the third of the night on the 42nd minute to underline the majestic dominance of the visitors. However, Real Madrid posted a spirited display in the second half riding on goals from Luka Modrić and Vinicius Junior reducing the arrears, but it wasn’t really enough to save the blushes.
#2 CSKA Moscow 1-0 Real Madrid, 2018-19
This was another tragic affair that Real Madrid had to endure to make it to the knock-out stages of the tournament. The Russian champions were absolutely relentless in their pursuit of a victory against the most successful team of the tournament. Nikola Vlasic fired the opener in the 2nd minute of the game and Madrid kept on chasing shadows ever since. They were also compelled to replace Carvajal with Odriozola after the former copped a nasty injury just before the breather. Moscow made it personal and physical to stave away Madrid as four of their players picked up yellow cards while their custodian, Igor Akinfeev was given the marching orders in the dying embers of the game after abusing.
#3 CSKA Moscow 3-0 Real Madrid, 2018-19
Surprisingly, Moscow was not down tormenting the Spanish paragons as they pulled off a double against Madrid in the same season and this time with a much-better showdown. Fedor Chalov opened the scoring for the visitors, following an Arnor Siggurdson pass. Georgiy Shchennikov doubled Moscow’s lead through a Mario Fernandes assist. Arnor Sigurdsson completed the rout from a Vlasic pass as Real Madrid was left reeling in agony.
There were a couple of instances where Madrid was fortunate to salvage a draw, otherwise this could have simply manifolded their woes in the group stages against weaker opponents. In the preceding season they salvaged a hard-fought impasse against Borussia Monchengladbach and in 2019-20, they had to share the spoils of war with an undercooked Club Brugge.