Breakout stars: Stunning goal helps Sheriff Tiraspol shock Shakhtar in Champions League bow for team from disputed region (VIDEO)
Making history as the first team from their region to play in the group stage of European football’s biggest club competition, Sheriff ran out 2-0 winners on Wednesday night thanks to an acrobatic opening goal from Adama Traore and a second-half header from Momo Yasane – both assisted by Brazilian full-back Cristiano.
Sheriff Tiraspol have actually scored the goal of the day so far.pic.twitter.com/FBr4CgJ9ki— COPA90 (@Copa90) September 15, 2021
So, who had Sheriff for top of the group?pic.twitter.com/Vxlwfg9FNQ— COPA90 (@Copa90) September 15, 2021
Shakhtar, who boast a host of Brazilians in the team and are regulars in the Champions League group stage, dominated possession with 75% of the ball and managed 20 shots – but only landed three on target.
The hosts were indebted to Greek goalkeeper Giorgos Athanasiadis for some strong stops, including from a deflected effort from Marlos in the second half.
Sheriff were making history as the first representatives from the Moldovan league to reach the Champions League group stage, having come through the qualifying rounds to get this far.
The minnows are from the breakaway region of Transnistria, an area which borders Ukraine and has been a de facto independent state since a brief civil war in 1992, but which is without UN recognition.
Sheriff Tiraspol have their own Adama Traoré and the assist came from a guy named Cristiano. You can’t make this up. What a club. pic.twitter.com/5eOhqQbok5— Zwë 👑 (@ZwebackHD) September 15, 2021
Sheriff are bankrolled by a sprawling company of the same name which has interests in numerous areas of the local economy, and the team are managed by Ukrainian former Zenit St. Petersburg player Yuriy Vernydub.
They fielded an all-foreign starting line-up for their historic match on Wednesday, mainly stocked with players from South America and Africa, but also including Uzbek forward Jasurbek Yakhshiboev and Luxembourg international Sebastien Thill.
A WIN for champions league debutants Sheriff Tiraspolscenes👇 pic.twitter.com/nNTyfkMFd7— M-SPORT LIVE (@msportlive) September 15, 2021
10 - @FotclubSheriff are unbeaten in their last 10 games in European competition (W7 D3, including 9 games this season), longest ever run in their history. They have conceded only three goals during that span. Sensation.#UCL#ШерифШахтерpic.twitter.com/lisQ5pDNuO— OptaIvan (@OptaIvan) September 15, 2021
Sheriff will continue their fairytale Champions League journey against Spanish giants Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in their next Group D match on September 28.
Following that will be a visit to another iconic stadium, the San Siro, when they take on Inter Milan in October.