Sheriff Tiraspol head coach Yuriy Vernydub believes his side “created a miracle” after they stunned Real Madrid 2-1 at the Bernabeu in the Champions League, while Carlo Ancelotti says “everything we did turned out badly”.
Luxembourg midfielder Sebastien Thill scored an outstanding late half volley to snatch an unlikely victory for Sheriff, who reached the Champions League group stage for the first time this season after winning four qualifying rounds.
Sheriff took the lead against the run of play with a header from Jasurbek Yakhshiboev. Karim Benzema equalised for the 13-time European champions with a second-half penalty before Thill won the match in the 89th minute.
Real had 31 shots on goal and 11 on target while keeping 76 per cent possession and winning 13 corners, while the Moldovan side had only four attempts, scoring two of their three shots on target.
Who are Sheriff Tiraspol?
- Sheriff are based in Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria, a breakaway state located on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border
- They were founded in 1997 and promoted to the Moldovan top flight (the Divizia Nationale) a year later
- The Sheriff Stadium complex, where they play their home games, was completed in 2002, costing approximately £148m
- Sheriff have won 20 of the 22 Moldovan league titles they have contested
- The Real Madrid match was Sheriff’s 10th Champions League fixture of the season as they came through four rounds of qualifying
- They are just the second club to win on their first Champions League trip to the Bernabeu, replicating Arsenal’s achievement in 2005/06
- Not since Leicester City in 2016/17 have a side won their opening two games on their debut in the competition
- Sheriff head coach Yuriy Vernydub guided Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk to the Europa League group stage in 2016/17, where he faced Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United
“This is so emotional. I’m very appreciative of my boys for this great job,” Sheriff boss Vernydub said. “We are a real team.
“Some big players said before there’s no place in the Champions League for teams like Sheriff, but it’s our place and we proved it.
“We have created a miracle and in the end we have won. I am very happy and very proud for FC Sheriff, but I am more proud of my boys.”
The defeat was Real Madrid’s first of the season but head coach Ancelotti believes his side did not deserve to lose the match.
“Everything went well for them while everything we did turned out badly,” he said.
“More than worried we are sad. We played with intensity and commitment but lost due to the finest details. The team played well, we could have been sharper in the area but it’s difficult to explain what happened.
“The small details cost us the game and we should learn from that in the future. But this was a defeat we did not deserve.”
‘We knew we could win at the Bernabeu’
Sheriff, who were founded in 1997, are top of Group D with six points, after beating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 in their opening game.
Sheriff defender Gustavo Dulanto said: “I dreamed of winning in the Bernabeu, I have always followed Madrid, they are the most successful team in the Champions League so to beat them at home is a huge achievement.
“There’s still a long way to go and we can’t relax because there’s no logic in football, as today’s result shows. We came here with the knife between our teeth but we can only look forward to the next game.”
Captain Frank Castaneda revealed his side had fancied their chances before kick-off.
“We knew we could win here and before the game we had it in our heads that we could and as captain I tried to motivate the team and tell them we could do it because this is football,” he said.
“Real Madrid is a historic team but on the pitch it’s 11 players versus 11 and we came here to get the victory and got it.”
Match-winner Thill added: “We’re so happy today. We played a really good game. The side were so brave with how we played and luckily enough I was able to score a bit of a stunner.”