UCL: Real Madrid eases into the knockout stages with a comfortable win over Sheriff
Real Madrid strolls easily into the knockout stages of the Champions League with a comfortable win over Sheriff at the Sheriff Stadium in Moldova.
On Wednesday night, Real Madrid advanced to the last 16 of the Champions League with a 3-0 away victory over Sheriff. Madrid, a record 13-time European champion, has reached the knockout stages since the 1997-98 season. It failed to qualify for the competition in 1996-97.
The Moldovan National Division underdogs stunned the world by defeating Real Madrid in the Spanish capital on matchday two, but there would be no repetition here, with Carlo Ancelotti’s men completing the task with no fuss.
In the early going, Sheriff was determined in defense, but Los Blancos’ more remarkable skill was apparent, with Karim Benzema having a goal called out for offside early on.
Sheriff’s defense was finally broken on the half-hour mark when Cristiano deflected David Alaba’s free-kick beyond Georgios Athanasiadis.
Real Madrid grew increasingly dominant as the game went, and they increased their lead right before the interval in a scintillating manner. A free-flowing move involving five players was finished off precisely by Toni Kroos.
Benzema scored his 15th goal of the season in the 55th minute, finding space on the outside of the box and smashing the ball into the bottom corner. It was also the striker’s 76th goal in the Champions League.
Sheriff had scored in all four of their group games, and they had a rush of chances midway through the second half, with Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois making two stops and a cross hitting the crossbar.
But it was ultimately an easy game for Madrid, who advanced to the knockout stages for the 25th year in a row.