Real exact revenge on Sheriff to make the last 16
Real Madrid avenged their earlier Champions League defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol with a decisive 3-0 victory on Wednesday night at Sheriff Stadium. David Alaba, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema all found the back of the net to give Los Blancos the three points and officially a spot in next February's knockout stage. It was also sweet revenge for the shocking 2-1 loss suffered by Real Madrid against Sheriff at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu earlier in the campaign.
Carlo Ancelotti went with as strong a starting XI as possible, with the lone wrinkle being Rodrygo in for Marco Asensio in attack.
After early looks at goal from Rodrygo and Benzema, Alaba would open the scoring in style on the half hour mark with a freekick that went blazing past Sheriff goalkeeper Giorgos Athanasiadis.
Moments before half time, the advantage was doubled and again in elegant form, with some quick passing setting up Kroos, who perfectly placed his shot in off the crossbar with his right boot.
The second half saw Real Madrid come out looking to put their foot on Sheriff's neck and the lead was stretched to 3-0 shortly before the hour mark when Ferland Mendy cut inside and played a pass to Benzema, who then fired in a right-footer.
With the three-goal cushion, Ancelotti went to his bench, bringing on Marcelo for Mendy, followed by Lucas Vazquez for Dani Carvajal and Nacho for an injured Alaba.
Sheriff did not throw in the towel, though, and midway through the second stanza they nearly pulled a goal back, with Thibaut Courtois making a save on an Adama Traore shot that then led to a Cristiano attempt that hit the post.
That would prove to be the best scoring chance for the home side, as Real Madrid calmly saw out the final minutes to punch their place in the round of 16.
Source: Marca English