Ranking Real Madrid's 5 best players against Sheriff Tiraspol | UEFA Champions League 2021-22

Granada CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander
Granada CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander

13-time UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid made the trip to Moldova for their fifth Group D fixture against Sheriff Tiraspol on Wednesday night.

In the reverse fixture, the competition's record-winners were handed a shock 2-1 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium by the Moldovian champions. This time, Los Blancos were determined not to let the lightning strike the same place twice and emerged 3-0 winners.

Real Madrid, who picked up nine points from their four UEFA Champions League games, needed a win to secure Round of 16 football. The hosts, on the other hand, needed maximum points to keep their qualification aspirations alive.

As expected, Real Madrid dominated proceedings early on, with Rodrygo emerging as the most potent threat to Sheriff’s goal. Surprisingly, however, Real Madrid’s first goal of the match did not come from open play, but from David Alaba’s free-kick.

In the 30th minute, Alaba’s stood over a free-kick just outside the penalty box. His sweetly-struck free-kick took a massive deflection to leave the Sheriff keeper Georgios Athanasiadis dumbfounded.

15 minutes later, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos popped up with the second goal of the night in typical fashion. His side-footed finish hit the underside of the crossbar and just went over the line. Karim Benzema joined the party next, scoring a brilliant goal in the 55th minute.

As you would expect, many Real Madrid players were at their best in this important win.

Below, we will take a look at the five Real Madrid players who left a long-lasting impression. Now, without further ado, let us get to it.

#5 Casemiro

Real Madrid v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg One
Real Madrid v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg One

On Wednesday night, Real Madrid central defensive midfielder Casemiro started alongside Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the middle of the park. The Brazilian proved to be a force to be reckoned with against Sheriff, pitching in with crucial interceptions and clearances.

Casemiro vs. FC Sheriff:•65 passes completed (97%)•5 clearances•2 fouls won (1 leading to fk goal)•3/6 tackles completed•2 interceptions•84 touches with 0 dispossessions (!)•3/3 long balls completed•6 recoveries•2/2 aerial duels wons

The 29-year-old won eight ground duels, made one interception, completed five clearances, and had six tackles to his name. He also attempted and successfully completed three long balls on the night.

#4 Rodrygo

Granada CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander
Granada CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander

Thanks to Vinicius Jr’s ascension, Rodrygo has not been able to grab the spotlight at Real Madrid. On Wednesday, however, he convincingly outshone his compatriot.

Rodrygo was a constant threat down the right-hand channel and kept two of his efforts on target. Sheriff also blocked a couple of his efforts to keep Real Madrid from taking the game away.

Rodrygo was fantastic in that first half. The dribbling sequence inside the box stays in the mind. When he takes defenders on and breaks out his technical skills, it can be so smooth and unpredictable.

Rodrygo may have failed to get the goal he deserved but he was credited with the assist for Kroos’ 45th-minute goal. He found the German in space just outside the area and unselfishly let the midfielder try his luck.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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