There’s a New Sheriff in Town: FC Sheriff Upset Real Madrid in Champions League
© AP Photo / Alvaro BarrientosReal Madrid's Eden Hazard protests during a Spanish La Liga soccer match
© AP Photo / Alvaro Barrientos
Europe’s most decorated club, Real Madrid, met their match in FC Sheriff Tiraspol. The first club from Moldova to ever play in the Champions League upset Real Madrid 2-1, in Madrid, to take the lead in Group D with six points through two games.
It is not hyperbole to declare this the greatest upset in the history of the Champions League. Real Madrid is the most successful club in the history of the sport and, before their qualification of the Champions League this year, FC Sheriff was practically unknown outside of Moldova.
In fact, some fans of FC Sheriff would say the club isn’t even from Moldova. The club, located in the city of Tiraspol, plays in the unrecognized breakaway state of Transnistria. The small region between the Dniester river and Ukrainian border is considered a part of Moldova, but has special legal status.
Comparing Real Madrid and FC Sheriff
FC Sheriff was founded in 1997, and is the first team from Moldova to qualify for the Champions League. Real Madrid was founded in 1902 and has won a record number of La Ligas, Copa del Reys, and European Cup/Champion Leagues.
Real Madrid is the sixth-best team in the world, according to FiveThirtyEight’s global soccer ranking, and FC Sheriff is 205th. Real Madrid is Goliath, and FC Sheriff is David.
Much like the story of David and Goliath, where David defeated Goliath with a simple sling, FC Sheriff won the game with their own carefully placed projectile. In the 89th minute, with the game knotted at 1-1, Sebastian Thill unleashed one of the greatest volleys in the history of the competition.
No one in their wildest dreams would believe that FC Sheriff can win the Champions League, except for Sebastian Thill.
FC Sheriff finds themselves atop of Group D, and is ina fantastic position to advance to the Champions League knockout stage. Real Madrid is second with three points, but Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk are both only on one point apiece. Sheriff’s five-point advantage with four games to go could see them continue to inch closer to Sebastian Thill’s dream.