Real Madrid confirmed their progression to the Champions League last 16 courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 away win over Sheriff on Wednesday night.
The Moldovan National Division minnows shocked the world by beating Real in the Spanish capital on matchday two, but there was to be no repeat here with Carlo Ancelotti’s charges getting the job done with minimal fuss.
The hosts were determined in defence in the opening exchanges but Los Blancos’ superior quality was evident with Karim Benzema having a goal ruled out for offside early on.
Sheriff’s resistance was eventually breached on the half-hour mark when David Alaba’s free kick was diverted past Georgios Athanasiadis via a Cristiano deflection.
Real became increasingly dominant as things progressed and just before the break they doubled their advantage in scintalining fashion. Five players in all were involved in a free-flowing move that was finished off precisely by Toni Kroos.
Just before the hour mark Real found a third through Benzema, who lashed home from outside the box following good work from Ferland Mendy.
After this the away side largely saw the game out without too much hassle, though Cristiano did hit the post with a glancing header with just over 20 minutes left to play.
Here are how the Real players rated…
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 6/10 – Did have one ‘save’ to make. A chilled-out night shift other than that.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – 7/10 – Bombed forward, proving he’s still got the explosiveness he was known for pre-injuries.
Eder Militao (CB) – 7/10 – A very easy night. Heading was a particular highlight with Sheriff going long fairly frequently.
David Alaba (CB) – 7/10 – Open the scoring with a precise free kick, though the deflection helped massively.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – 7/10 – Good stuff. Set up Benzema’s goal and made the left-wing his own personal playground.
Toni Kroos (CM) – 8/10 – His finish for the second was beautiful – it does not get more precise than that. Rolled back the years with some great long passes.
Casemiro (CM) – 7/10 – Did what he does best, helping Real control things. One of his most imperious games of the season.
Luka Modric (CM) – 7/10 – Was on it from the first whistle tonight. A great all-round midfield display.
Rodrygo (RW) – 7/10 – Always enthusiastic if a bit raw. A potent creator, he finished with two key passes and was unlucky not to get an assist.
Karim Benzema (ST) – 8/10 – Linked things expertly, as he always does. Got his goal in the second half after a frustrating first period.
Vinicius Junior (LW) – 6/10 – Not quite as good as he has been in previous Champions League games this season.
Marcelo (LB) – 6/10
Lucas Vazquez (RB) – 6/10
Nacho (CB) – 6/10
Marco Asensio (RW) – N/A
Antonio Blanco (CM) – N/A