Sheriff Tiraspol left the Bernabeu in stunned silence on Tuesday night when Sebastien Thill drilled in a superb late winner to secure a shock 2-1 victory over 13-time European champions Real Madrid.
Here, the PA new agency takes a closer look at five things about the Wasps, who now sit top of Champions League Group D with a 100 per cent start.
Putting Transnistria on the map
Sheriff play in the Moldovan Divizia Nationala top flight, but the city of Tiraspol is located in the unrecognised breakaway state of Transnistria on the border of Ukraine. Despite having its own government and currency, the region is regarded as part of Moldova by the United Nations.
Dreams come true for Thill
When Thill sent his rising 20-yard drive past Thibaut Courtois into the top corner, it was the moment every young footballer dreams about when growing up. Maybe, though, Luxembourg midfielder Thill, on an 18-month loan from Progres Niederkorn, saw it coming. The 27-year-old sports a tattoo on his left calf, which pictures him dreaming of the European Cup. “It is the best and most important goal of my career, that’s for sure,” he said afterwards – and certainly one which might well give Real Madrid fans a few nightmares for a while yet.
Sheriff lay down the law
Despite the catchy name, Sheriff are nothing to do with cowboys and pointed badges. The Transnistria-based company has interests in petrol stations, supermarkets, a mobile phone network and construction as well as other businesses across the territory. Tiraspol’s European adventure will bring them plenty more exposure as they look to make the most of their extended profile.
The Real Madrid of Moldovan football
Congratulations to Rifet Kapić for winning Moldavian title with Sheriff Tiraspol. Bosnian midfielder played at the CEE Cup in 2013.#CEECupAlumnipic.twitter.com/Cai6Avzc5f— CEE Cup (@cee_cup) November 28, 2018
Founded in 1997, Tiraspol have won 19 championship titles – a sixth in succession for 2020/21. Sherriff have also lifted the Moldovan Cup 10 times and the Moldovan Super Cup on seven occasions. They have reached the group stage of the Europa League four times and came through their Champions League qualifier against Dinamo Zagreb to become the first Moldovan representatives in Europe’s elite club competition this season. The Sheriff Stadium complex, built in 2002, cost around £148m.
Vernydub taking it one game at a time
Sherriff coach Yuriy Vernydub felt his team’s shock victory over Los Blancos had “created a miracle”. With two wins from two in their opening Group D matches, the Moldovan minnows have given themselves the perfect platform to qualify for the knockout stage ahead of Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk, having beaten the Ukrainians 2-0 at home on Match Day One. Vernydub, though, will not get ahead of himself. “We aren’t thinking about the last 16 yet as we still haven’t done anything extraordinary, we are just going forward step by step,” he said.
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