Champions League

Real Madrid 1-2 Sheriff: Player ratings as Real shocked by minnows

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Sheriff defended heroically and took their chances
Sheriff defended heroically and took their chances / Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Real Madrid were victims of one of the Champions League's greatest ever upsets on Tuesday night as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Group D minnows Sheriff Tiraspol.

As expected, the hosts dominated possession from the first whistle, prowling on the edge of their opponents' penalty area...but struggling to find that killer pass.

Real were made to rue their lack of clinical edge in the 25th minute when Cristiano - one of the stars of Matchday one - swung in a dangerous cross from the left-hand side and Djasur Yakhshibaev nodded home at the back post.

Los Blancos responded to going behind by ramping up the pressure with Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema both firing efforts just wide. Sheriff came closest to scoring before the break though, with Yakhshibaev's shot whistling centimetres past the post.

Real looked threatening in the opening exchanges of the second half and won a penalty just after the hour mark when Vinicius was brought down in the box. Benzema made no mistake from the spot, smashing the ball into the top corner for his 77th Champions League goal.

Sheriff thought they had edged in front with 20 minutes to play when Cristiano's low cross was diverted home by Bruno - only for the substitutes' strike to be ruled out for offside.

In the closing stages Real peppered their opponents' goal but Georgios Athanasiadis - who was incredible throughout proceedings - kept them at bay with a string of terrific saves.

Then, with just minutes left on the clock, Sheriff produced one of the all-time great Champions League group stage moments with Sebastien Thill firing an unstoppable effort into the stanchion to spark incredible scenes on the touchline.

Here are your Real player ratings from an unfortunately historic night at the Santiago Bernabeu...

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

David Alaba
Alaba could have done better for the opening goal / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Thibaut Courtois (GK) - 3/10 - Made a poor error in the first half that was nearly punished with a goal. Little to do thereafter - other than pick the ball out of the net.

Nacho Fernandez (RB) - 5/10 - Allowed Cristiano far too much space to cross in the 25th minute. Little to report in the final third but completed a lot of tackles.

Eder Militao (CB) - 3/10 - Sloppy at times. One particular misplaced pass was terrible.

David Alaba (CB) - 3/10 - All at sea for Sheriff's opener - really poor stuff. Did not look comfortable throughout - even against such lowly opposition.

Miguel Gutierrez (LB) - 5/10 - Question marks hang over him for the goal also. Passing was pretty good, but crossing could have been better.

2. Midfielders

Casemiro, Edmund Addo
Casemiro was not at his best / Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Federico Valverde (CM) - 5/10 - Busy and helped to break down Sheriff with his switches of play. His driving runs were eye-catching and created space.

Casemiro (CM) - 4/10 - Did not really notice his impact, though this was not the game for the Brazilian to show his strengths.

Eduardo Camavinga (CM) - 4/10 - Looked bright early on but faded out of the game. Needed to create more.

3. Forwards

Karim Benzema
Benzema's penalty was superb / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Eden Hazard (RW) - 4/10 - Some good moments but another game passes without a goal or an assist. The tenth most expensive footballer of all time needs to start earning his money.

Karim Benzema (ST) - 7/10 - Went very close in the first half and converted a clinical penalty. At the centre of most good things Real did.

Vinicius Junior (LW) - 5/10 - Treated us to a throwback of 2019/20 Vini Jr, with a string of bad misses and misguided decision making. Won the penalty after the break and was always a threat.

4. Substitutes

Luka Jovic
Jovic's impact was negligible / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Luka Jovic - 4/10 - Rubbish. Came on, got booked and then missed a sitter - that was it.

Toni Kroos - 5/10 - Good to see him get minutes as he steps up his recovery.

Rodrygo - 6/10 - A spark after coming on.

Luka Modric - 5/10 - Improved Real markedly, linking up with Benzema particularly well. Unforgivably slack marking for the goal, though.