- Arthiac Team
Sheriff Tiraspol made history and grabbed almost all the headlines on Tuesday night when they wounded Real Madrid on home turf at the newly designed Santiago Bernabeu.
Los Blancos were brought to their knees as the visitors leaped to joy as they had written their own history on a night that won't be forgotten in the capital of Spain. Boy, Netflix or Amazon Prime could come up with a short documentary. What do you think?
It's been a convincing start to the 2021-22 season for Carlo Ancelotti and his men as they currently top La Liga with 17 points on the board as they find themselves 5 points and 5 places above their historic rivals, FC Barcelona.
Their Champions League campaign got off to a good start when they faced Inter Milan at the San Siro, where Brazilian winger Rodrygo scored an 89th-minute winner to earn Ancelotti and his team three valuable points.
However, it was a bumpy ride at the Santiago Bernabeu as the hosts fell short to Sheriff Tiraspol and succumbed to a defeat that doesn't bode well with the history and legacy that the club has on their badge over the last century.
Real Madrid lost at home against a side that came through in the main draw of the Champions League competition through a series of Champions League qualifiers that they had to compete in to make it into the most prestigious football club competition in Europe.
With a few on the treatment table at Real Madrid, Ancelotti was forced to deploy Nacho at right back while Camavinga was preferred in place of the veteran, Luka Modric. Eden Hazard returned to the starting lineup after being benched in the previous two La Liga games by his Italian manager.
Real Madrid got underway in front of their fans at the Bernabeu. Los Blancos got off to a positive start in the opening 5 minutes of the game as they were at it from the first minute of the game.
Benzema came close to breaking the deadlock through a free-kick just outside the penalty box in the 17th minute of the game as the Frenchman tested the quality of Sheriff's handling within the first quarter of the game. The Uruguayan midfielder, who is rated highly on the white side of Madrid, came pretty close as well, but his shot just took off over the bar.
Well, the signs were positive for Madrid, but the game of football isn't about "signs", it's about the "end product" and Los Blancos failed to deliver in that aspect as Sheriff took the lead through a well-guided header from Uzbekistan's Jasurbek Yakhshiboev which went past the half-attempted dive from Thibaut Courtois as a hush silence developed over the Bernabeu as a few whistles followed after that.
Nevertheless, Real Madrid kept trying to get back into the game as they attempted long-range shots on goal which mostly didn't hit the target.
But the Sheriff did not hold back either. They kept coming at Real Madrid's fragile defence all night long, as they too tried a few spectaculars after taking the lead.
Vinicius Junior was lively amongst the others in the legendary all-white Madrid jersey as he too tried a few attempts at goal which were off target.
However, that constant pressure from the Los Blancos nearly opened up the door for them as Eden Hazard tried to find the back of the net from the narrowest of angles as the Belgian tested the goalkeeper. But he was up to the task. However, the rebound fell awkwardly to Nacho, who was in full momentum. Unfortunately, he couldn't adjust his aim in a split mini-second. It just felt that the 28th of September 2021 just wasn't the night for the Madridistas as most of their attempts at goal were off target. Even their top-goal scorer, Karim Benzema, found it difficult to find the back of the net, which he knows pretty well.
The visitors were surely living on the edge, but it's their bravery that got them through the first-half as they didn't back down.
The second-half got underway in similar fashion as Real Madrid began on the stronger foot to make their mark on this game. Once again, the Belgian, Eden Hazard, was denied by the opposition goalkeeper as Hazard looked to make inroads of all sorts.
Finally, Real Madrid found the breakthrough from the lively Brazilian, Vinicius Junior, as they drew a foul in the penalty box as he looked to make a way past the opposition defender, and neither the referee nor VAR had any objections.
On that note, Karim Benzema rifled his penalty into the top-left corner, which no goalkeeper in the world could have stopped. It was world class!
The lively Brazilian looked to cause further damage, but time and time again, Sheriff Tiraspol's shot-stopper, Giorgos Athanasiadis kept denying Los Blancos as he was having the game of his life!
However, that bravery and a little added belief from Tiraspol gave them another goal in the 72nd minute, but VAR deemed it offside.
Tiraspol's goalkeeper, Giorgos Athanasiadis, denied Real Madrid with unbelievable heroism as he took a good cold blow on his face from Luka Modric's attempt on target.
But Sheriff Tiraspol had a fight of their own in them as Sébastien Thill had a Moldovan punch in him as he leathered his left foot onto the ball as it found the top left corner of the goal as it rattled in off the woodwork into the back of the net as the visitors along with their coaching staff went ballistic!
This result doesn't sound like cream and cheese to Carlo Ancelotti's ears, but he has a side that has not been at their best over the last 3 years.
So… What next for Real Madrid?
Real Madrid have had two disappointing results lately at home. One was against Villareal and the other against Sheriff Tiraspol. The place they called "home" has suddenly become a lonely place.
In La Liga, against Villareal, deep down in Ancelotti's consciousness, he knows that that was 3 colossal points missed as Real Madrid settled for a draw.
A few days later, Real Madrid lost to a Moldovan club: Sheriff Tiraspol at the Bernabeu.
Carlo Ancelotti, no matter how calm and collected he is, will undoubtedly be enraged inside the dressing room because he will be unable to sit down as a result of this.Real Madrid were just not clinical last night.
That's the problem and issue that Carlo Ancelotti has at the moment. The issue is that his forward players are rocketing high as they have been "clinical'' so far this season until their game against Villareal at home.
Well, reading that might serve as a shocking read for you. But we, here at Arthiac, have our reasons. Here's why:
Think about the number of times that Real Madrid have trailed so far this season:
- In La Liga, Real Madrid have trailed 5 times in 7 league games.
- In all competitions, Real Madrid have trailed 7 times so far this season.
Now that is a concerning statistic for Carlo Ancelotti to read out there. He surely knows his side and he knows the numbers too. We've got immense respect for the man.
Last season, Eder Militao was the man everyone was looking up to as the next best central defender after Sergio Ramos was sidelined for several months with a knee injury.Even after the departure of Ramos, the club and their fans have installed a great degree of hope, understanding and trust in the Brazilian centre-back.
He ended last season on a high as he teamed up really well with Nacho as they were a defensive pair that was hard to breach.
However, with the arrival of David Alaba in the summer for Real Madrid's defensive reinforcements, the Austrian centre-back has not yet made life comfortable for the Madridistas as he and Militao have not yet found a way to shut out defences and we assume that this has rubbed off a negative energy and vibe around with one of their longest serving servants in Nacho.
Whenever Carlo has deployed Nacho and Militao in central defence, things have not been cemented yet at the back as they have been struggling lately to shut out defences.
Earlier, we had used the word "fragile." As delicate as that word may sound, Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti have a defensive line that is fragile to the opposition's attacking threat down every possible channel.
Let's look at some small numbers:
- In La Liga, Real Madrid have conceded 8 goals in 7 league games.
- In all competitions, Real Madrid have conceded 10 goals in 9 games so far.
- On an average, that is literally a goal + the added .11 and .14 in goals.
That does not sound good at this stage of the season.
Yes, Real Madrid have kept clean sheets this season, but with all due respect to those sides with whom Los Blancos have kept quiet, those were sides that did not go "all in" against Real Madrid's fragile defensive line.
In La Liga, teams like Levante and Mallorca have breached Thibaut Courtois in goal, which is a concern moving forward this season.
Earlier, we also mentioned the word "Clinical."
That word has probably got a lot to say regarding Ancelotti and his boys in white so far this season.
In those games that Real Madrid have been trailing, they have not been able to manage a comeback in their recent fixture in the Champions League against Sheriff Tiraspol.
In the La Liga:
- Every time Real Madrid has trailed, they have found a way back into the contest.
- Every time Los Blancos were put to the test, they answered in a way that they knew best.
- Afterall, they answered in style.
- That word "Clinical" from their front men has got Real Madrid out of danger many many times.
Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior's performances so far this season have almost made most of us forget that while the forwards are clicking, the back-line is leaking. In fact, they probably just burst a defensive pipe as they are leaking goals at an unexpected rate at this moment.
However, it is very difficult to keep coming back into games, especially when the stakes are so high this season, as there are a few additional competitors in La Liga itself this season.
On the other hand, the Champions League is definitely a priority for Florentino Perez and his legacy at the club, but the competition has gone a notch tougher than before as there are many sides in the competition who have a better chance of winning.
There is no hiding from these results now. Real Madrid and Ancelotti will be hoping to put this result behind them and move forward with their heads held high.