Real Madrid avenged their earlier Champions League defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol with a
decisive 3-0 victory on Wednesday night at the Sheriff” Sports Complex. David Alaba,
Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema all found the back of the net to give Los Blancos the
Benzema celebrated his second-half shot from Ferland Mendy’s cross with team-
mates just hours after a French judge gave him a one year suspended prison sentence
for his part in the attempted blackmail of former France international team-mate
Mathieu Valbuena; a verdict he intends to appeal.
Benzema had started the game well, converting a rebound after Georgios
Athanasiadis had saved Toni Kroos’ shot. That goal was ruled out for offside but there
was no ruling out David Alaba’s opener for Madrid.
His free-kick clipped a defender as the Sheriff wall parted and that helped it fly past
Athanasiadis to make it 1-0 on the half hour.
Madrid were in control with Casemiro, Luka Modric and Kroos running the game
from midfield. Carlo Ancelotti called them the best in the world recently. This was
only their sixth game together this season and they were too good for Sheriff. Modric
started a move that Kroos ended with a sidefoot shot that bounced just over the line
off the crossbar for 2-0.
Rodrygo got a touch in the build-up to and the Brazilian was Sheriff’s chief
tormentor as they out-played the Champions League debutants
Madrid could now think about topping the group and maybe forcing cards to use
up suspensions but when Casemiro approached the touchline in what appeared to be
a chat about that very subject, the midfielder – on a yellow – seemed to be told by
Carlo Ancelotti not get a deliberate booking.
It wasn’t all good news for Real Madrid with Alaba going off in the second half, they
will want their new defensive leader fit for the last group match at home to Inter.
‘It’s a very cold night’ said defender Dani Carvajal of the minus three temperature.
‘We are just happy to be through.’
Benzema now has 15 goals this season with 10 in La Liga and five in Europe. And with
that all-star midfield of Modric, Casemiro and Kroos behind him Madrid will one of
the teams to avoid in the draw on December 13. If the pick up a point in that last
game at home to Inter they will go into the last-16 as one of the group winners.