Madrid got serious and ended the fable of the Sheriff, a European Cup novice who came face to face with harsh reality. To which Alaba, Kroos and Benzema led him, authors of the 0-3 with which Real guaranteed a place in the round of 16. On the last day he will only have one fencer duel with Inter to settle first place in the group in Chamartín, with the advantage that Ancelotti’s men will be worth a draw.
Georgios Athanasiadis, Cristiano da Silva Leite, Fernando Costanza, Dulanto, Danilo Arboleda, Bruno Da Silva (Keston Julien, min. 58), Thill, Frank Andersson Castañeda Velez, Edmund Addo, Dimitrios Kovolos (Boban Nikolov, min. 59) and Adame Traore (Maxim Cojocaru, min. 80)
Courtois, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy (Marcelo, min. 59), Dani Carvajal (Lucas Vázquez, min. 63), Alaba (Nacho, min. 63), Kroos, Modric, Casemiro (Antonio Blanco, min. 83), Rodrygo (Marco Asensio, min. 83), Benzema and Vinicius Junior
Goals 0-1 min. 29: Alaba. 0-2 min. 45: Kroos. 0-3 min. 54: Benzema.
Referee Szymon Marciniak
Yellow cards Ferland Mendy (min. 3) and Fernando Costanza (min. 27)
Real made no concessions and went through Tiraspol like a rocket, too much for this unique Transnistrian club founded 25 years ago. By then, Madrid already had six orejonas in the basket. The surprising Sheriff earned the right to dream after overcoming four previous qualifiers and will still have a place in the Europa League ahead of his neighbor Shakhtar.
Warned by the beat of the Bernabéu, on the day that the giant of the European Cup put the Sheriff on the football world map, a cachazudo Real Madrid did not appear in Tiraspol. From the beginning it was a diligent team. Enough to lower the courage of the rival. Kroos and Modric promptly uncorked the match, and the Sheriff was reduced to his role as resistant. A primary team forced to cover up and splash a battery of balls towards Traoré, their only fugitive in attack. Little beacon. Especially because the boy is extreme, he does not have a pole ram liner.
Everything was very simple on the local side. A game over low heat was convenient for Madrid. The one that little by little they were cooking their illustrated flyers. A touch of Modric, a download of Kroos, a key of Benzema … And this time, with Rodrygo as the protagonist above Vinicius. The first, a starter ahead of Asensio, not only served as a fan on his side. Plugged in Rodrygo, Cristiano, surnamed Silva, was lowered. Nothing to do with the side that left its mark on Chamartín. Athanasiadis, the Sheriff’s hero after the Madrid machine-gunning in that game, deprived Rodrygo of the first goal after a wonderful braid between Modric and Casemiro.
Madrid flowed, from side to side, also through the funnel. The Sheriff, the team with the least possession of the militants in the Champions League, only had spotlights in his burrow. Each visiting effort in pressure led to a loss of Yuri Vernydub’s boys. Alaba and Militão were enough like traoré’s pincer. The Sheriff didn’t have a pass. Madrid, the opposite result of the round table shared by Kroos and Modric, Modric and Kroos.
A lack of Fernando Costanza de Casemiro on the balcony of the area anticipated the 0-1. Alaba and Kroos raffled off who would be the executor. Turn for the Austrian, whose shot, with a frayed barrier, bounced off Cristiano and caught Greek Athanasiadis stumbled. Alaba had not scored in the European Cup since 2015.
He did not slacken Ancelotti’s patrol. None of those blackouts that sometimes suffocate you. Maybe because of the Moldovan cold. Perhaps because the night was for joy. And for soccer joy the 0-2. Modric, Rodrygo and Vinicius played pool in the front of the area. Bad business for the Sheriff, because the ball went all the way to Kroos’ feet. The German hit the leather with the inside of the right boot and the ball went like a shot towards the left square of the local goal. After the explosion off the crossbar, the ball crossed the goal line. It wasn’t a shot. It was a cluster bomb. The hit of a chosen one with squad feet and bevel to send the Moldovan rival to the bottom.
One night à la carte from Madrid, enjoy in Tiraspol. Except Courtois, perhaps, because in the icy Moldovan night he could barely get warm. The Sheriff stayed on Mars for an hour. When some outsider faced him, already 0-3, the Belgian goalkeeper was firm. The same does not matter if the rival gives him the rattle or not. Courtois does not yawn, always on the alert. As in a damn shot from Yansane that forced him to a very demanding stretch.
In case Ancelotti was still suspicious – football has amazing winks – Benzema was in charge of giving his coach carte blanche to manage times and players. The captain sealed the 0-3 with a great shot and the Italian coach had a clue to reel Marcelo, regulate Carvajal, not take risks with Alaba – with discomfort -, put Blanco in the European showcase … It was just question of avoiding accidents. The task was more than resolved and the course is atomic.
Now it is Madrid’s turn to manage the first place, which is not just anything. Not just for those who prefer a tie back at home. Also because the seconds to come seem more manageable than group leaders.
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