‘Unbelievable’ – As Sheriff skipper pull down the Mighty Real Madrid 2021
Sheriff’s Champions League goal hero Sebastien Thill has reflected on an incredible night for the Moldovan side after they shocked Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
Yuriy Vernydub’s side were rank outsiders to get anything out of the fixture against Madrid, but Thill’s stunning late strike ensured they would claim a historic 2-1 victory.
Thill has spoken exclusively to Goal following the incredible win in the Spanish capital, lifting the lid on Sheriff’s game plan and how it felt to score such a decisive goal against one of the world’s biggest clubs.
What was Sheriff’s game plan?
“Whether we’re playing in our domestic league or in the Champions League, we approach matches in the same way,” Thill, who has a tattoo on his leg that shows him dreaming about playing in the Champions League, told Goal.
“After the first group-stage match [the 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk] we changed our game since we weren’t going to have possession of the ball.
“We know we are strong when we create a defensive block so, before the match, we observed Real Madrid and how they position themselves defensively and offensively. We knew that we were going to have space in behind and that’s how I was able to be found regularly at the start of the match.”
“My role was to launch the attack in transition and try to get us in front of the goal, and we analyzed that on video. Our goal was to be well set defensively and to form a block.
“After that, the coach told us not to be afraid, to play football by bringing the ball out from the back and playing on the ground rather than kicking it long. In the first half, we were able to do that, but after that it was difficult because they pressed hard.
“With a team like Madrid and their world-class players, it’s hard to defend against them. At one point, they had opportunities every minute. They can be happy they got the penalty [for the foul on Vinicius Junior] because I think that if it’s a player from our team, the referee doesn’t whistle for it.
“As they are called Real Madrid, it’s a foul. I reviewed the images and for me it’s 50-50. Some referees whistle for it and others don’t.”
Thill’s match-winning goal
Reflecting on his goal, which he smashed into the top corner with just a few minutes remaining, the Luxembourg international said: “I noticed there was space outside the box so I got there and the ball landed perfectly on my left foot.
“When you’re in that position it can go either way: you put the ball over the stadium or you put it in the top corner – fortunately it went in the top corner!
“Frankly, it was madness! I was so happy, running around everywhere, I had chills! After the goal I told myself that there was still time to play and that it was going to feel like a very long time, especially as I had cramp.”
After the evening match
“There was a real collective euphoria,” Thill said. “In the locker room, everyone was happy and partying. Cell phones kept ringing. Everyone was celebrating because all the players had a big game.
“When I see, for example, the number of saves our goalkeeper made, it’s still incredible. It wasn’t two or three players that won it. We were strong together and that’s why we won this match.
“I have received hundreds of messages, even now while we are talking I get some. Every minute, even every second! My cell phone does not stop. This is not the first time, because with my former club in Luxembourg (Progres Niederkorn), we had knocked out Rangers. That wasn’t bad but this is above that!”
So, after two wins from two, have Sheriff’s ambitions changed?
“We do not say to ourselves that we want to end with 10 or 11 points. Before each match, we analyze the opponent and try to win each match. We know that the next four games are going to be very complicated.” bbc
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