Facts About Sheriff FC, the Tiny Team That Defeated Madrid

One of the greatest shocks in the history of the Champions League, Real Madrid, went down against a tiny club from Moldova

Football has always been an unpredictable game and, in 2021, it produced one of the biggest shocks in the history of the Champions League. 13-times Champions League winner Real Madrid suffered their most humiliating defeat in the Champions League when a tiny unknown team from Moldova thrashed them at their home ground Bernabeu. Playing for the first time in the prestigious Champions League, Sheriff FC opened the scoring at the 25th minute when their midfielder scored an impeccable header. The small club defended till the 65th minute when Madrid’s Karim Benzema scored a top corner goal. At that moment, everyone thought the match would either end as a draw or Real Madrid would score another. To everyone’s surprise, at the 89th minute, a second goal was scored by Sheriff. 

After the match, Frank Castaneda, the captain of Sheriff FC, said to ESPN, “We believed we could win. I spoke to my teammates as captain, motivating them, saying ‘why not dream?’ This is football. Real Madrid are historic but on the pitch, it’s 11 vs. 11. We went for the win and got it.” So, the question is; who are Sheriff FC?

The full name of Sheriff or Sheriff FC is Sheriff Tiraspol, hailing from the city of Tiraspol, Moldova. They have a few nicknames, such as Osy and Zholto-chornyye and the club was officially formed in 1996. The home ground of the club is called Sheriff Stadium, that holds a seating capacity of 12,746. President of the club is Victor Gusan and presently, their head coach is Yuriy Vernydub. The club started in the second division of the Divizia Națională leaguea and quickly gained promotion to the top tier under the leadership of Ahmad Alasgarov. 

The club made its debut in the Europa League in 2009 and over the years; it has appeared several times in the Europa League’s qualifying and group stages. Before making their Champions League debut in 2021, the club reached the second qualifying round of the Champions League and won against Dinamo Zagreb. Sadly, in the play-off round, they lost against the Swiss-based club, Basel. In 2021, they reached the group stage where they were stacked against Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk. In the group stage, they defeated Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk (at the time of writing this article). 

Rohit Chatterjee

An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Rohit Chatterjee is a bona fide moto-enthusiast who has worked with several media houses in his brief career. Chatterjee mostly writes features and news articles related to automobiles and motorsports. When not working, he is found on the interstate clocking over 100kmph on his NS200!
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