Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has come out to insist that Real Madrid played well against FC Sheriff, despite losing to the Champions League debutants 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The result made it Ancelotti’s first defeat since returning to the Santiago Bernabeu, with goals from Djasur Yakhshibaev and Sebastien Thill canceling out Karim Benzema’s second-half penalty to secure a famous and memorable victory to the lowest-ranked side in the Champions League this season.
Reacting to the shock loss after the final whistle, Ancelotti chose to remain positive, despite the vast financial disparity between the two sides.
“More than worried, we are sad. We played with intensity, commitment…but we lost because of the small details,” he told the press in a post-match conference.”
“The team played well. We could be finer in the last meters, but it is difficult to explain. The small details cost us the game and it can be a lesson for the future. It was a defeat that we did not deserve.”
Real Madrid did indeed create a lot of chances with Sheriff goalkeeper Georgios Athanasiadis making ten saves in total – and deservedly securing the player of the match award. It was not just the Greek international that stifled Los Blancos, though.
Ancelotti’s side were also guilty of some poor finishing, with winger Vinicius Junior failing to convert several presentable opportunities.
There were bigger issues at the back, however. The marking for Sheriff’s opening goal was terrible with Yakhshibaev being afforded all the time in the world to head it home across the face of Courtois. The forward might have grabbed a second before the break too, as he capitalised on a defensive error when Courtois handed the ball to a Sherrif player who teased up Yakhsibaev and fired just wide of the post.
The Sheriff’s winning goal was also the result of poor marking. There were no white shirts within ten yards of Thill when he received the ball, allowing him to fire an incredible effort into the top left corner.
The result means Sheriff have a maximum six points from their first two Champions League games after thumping Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 in their maiden match and top the group, while Real are second with one victory to their name after defeating Inter Milan 1-0 in their opener at San Siro. The other match of this group saw Inter play out a goalless draw with Shakhtar in Kyiv.
Real Madrid will seek to bounce back in the Champions League on Tuesday 19, October when they travel to Kyiv to take on Shakhtar whilst Inter who are yet to win a single match in this group will try and stop the flying Sheriff that same day at San Siro.