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FOOTBALL Preview: Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Real Madrid

Preview: Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Real Madrid – prediction, team news, lineups

Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Real Madrid.

After surprising everyone at the Santiago Bernabeu in September, Sheriff Tiraspol will be hoping to cause another upset and boost their hopes of reaching the knockout rounds of the Champions League when they face 13-time champions Real Madrid in their penultimate group-stage clash on Wednesday night.

The hosts have won 12 of their 14 matches on home soil across all competitions so far this season, while Los Blancos have lost only one of their 10 games on the road.

Match preview

Sheriff Tiraspol's Sebastien Thill celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on October 19, 2021

Many Sheriff Tiraspol supporters would have been licking their lips with excitement after the Champions League draw in August, with two eagerly-anticipated encounters against Real Madrid to look forward to this campaign.

The thought of claiming any points against the European giants would have been unthinkable at first, but having defied the odds and exceeded all expectations so far this season, the Moldovan champions can now head into Wednesday’s contest with genuine belief that they are capable of beating their Spanish counterparts for the second time.

Their 2-1 triumph at the Santiago Bernabeu – arguably one of the biggest upsets in Champions League history – as well as a 2-0 victory in their opening group match against Shakhtar Donetsk, had put the Yellow-Blacks into a surprisingly strong position at the top of Group D. However, back-to-back defeats against Scudetto holders Inter Milan has seen them drop down to third and three points behind their midweek opponents Real.

READ ALSO: FOOTBALL Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. AC Milan

 

Sheriff’s Champions League success has seemingly been helped by their impressive domestic form; Yuriy Vernydub’s side have won 12 of their 14 league matches so far this term, scoring 44 goals and conceding only five in the process.

Their unbeaten Divizia Nationala run was extended to 13 games with a 3-1 away win against Floresti last weekend, which means they are just one point behind league leaders Petrocub, with three games in hand.

All their attention will now be on Wednesday’s crucial clash with Real Madrid and another surprise triumph would see them become only the fourth team – after Benfica (1962, 1965), Galatasaray (2000, 2001) and Liverpool (1981, 2009) – to win their first two meetings with Los Blancos in European competition.

Sheriff Tiraspol’s hopes of advancing into the knockout rounds will be in their own hands if they can claim all three points at the Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena, however, if Inter Milan avoid defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk, then the Moldovans will at least be guaranteed a place in the last 32 of the Europa League.

After suffering a shock defeat against Sheriff in September – which was followed by a 2-1 loss away to Espanyol five days later – Real Madrid have since looked more like their formidable selves in recent weeks, winning six and drawing one of their last seven matches across all competitions, scoring 17 goals in the process.

Los Blancos claimed their fourth successive victory in all tournaments as well as their fourth in a row away from home when they cruised to a 4-1 win against Granada on Sunday, thanks to strikes from Marco Asensio, Nacho, Vinicius Junior and Ferland Mendy.

That result has seen Carlo Ancelotti‘s men return to the top of La Liga, one point above Real Sociedad with a game in hand. They are also at the summit of Group D in the Champions League heading into their final two group matches.

However, Real Madrid’s position at the top in both competitions could come under threat, as they are now to face a challenging run of fixtures leading up to Christmas. After their encounter with Sheriff, Los Blancos will lock horns with Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad, then return to Champions League action against Inter, before hosting the Madrid derby against rivals Atletico.

As impressive as Real have been going forward, maintaining their strong run of form could be determined by their defensive performances, with Ancelotti hoping his side can improve in this department.

Los Blancos have only kept five clean sheets in 17 games across all competitions this term – two of which, however, have been in the Champions League and both were away from home.

Surprisingly, Real Madrid will be looking to record three consecutive victories in the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2018-19 campaign. Securing all three points against Sheriff would also see them qualify for the knockout rounds as group winners if Inter also fail to beat Shakhtar.

Sheriff Tiraspol Champions League form:
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Sheriff Tiraspol form (all competitions):
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Real Madrid Champions League form:
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Real Madrid form (all competitions):
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Team News

Real Madrid trio Gareth Bale (calf), Dani Ceballos (ankle) and Federico Valverde (knee) are all set to remain sidelined with injuries, while Eden Hazard is doubtful due to illness. Ancelotti is unlikely to make too many changes to his starting lineup, though Eder Militao could be recalled ahead of Nacho, joining Mendy, Dani Carvajal and David Alaba in the back four.

Rodrygo is another who will be hoping to force his way into the first XI, however Vinicius and Asensio are expected to remain on the flanks, supporting talisman Karim Benzema in attack.

As for Sheriff, Lovro Bizjak remains out with a foot injury, while Momo Yansane is doubtful with a knock.

Peruvian captain Gustavo Dulanto is set to partner Danilo Arboleda in the heart of the defence, while Sebastien Thill – who scored a stunning 89th-minute winner at the Bernabeu – should continue in midfield alongside Edmund Addo. Frank Castaneda and Bruno will be competing with each other for a place on the left flank, while Adama Traore, who has netted 10 goals across all competitions this term, will operate on the right wing.

Sheriff Tiraspol possible starting lineup:
Athanasiadis; Fernando, Arboleda, Dulanto, Cristiano; Addo, Thill; Traore, Kolovos, Bruno; Yakhshiboev

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr

 

We say: Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Real Madrid -> Over 2.5

Despite losing against Sheriff two months ago, Real Madrid will head into Wednesday’s fixture as the strong favourites to come away with all three points.

The hosts will likely frustrate Los Blancos one again and could cause problems in the final third, however, the visitors will be fired up to get the job done this time around and should have no problems in outscoring their opponents in Transnistria.

Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Real Madrid promises to be a very thrilling and exciting match

 

For more football news, highlights, transfer rumours and predictions, visit baboyo.com

 

Source: Sports Mole.

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