Blog

Caught by the Sheriff

In the second edition of matchweek blogs, Champions Journal writer Simon Hart returns and has crunched the numbers ahead of the next round

WORDS Simon Hart

One thing we can safely say about Sheriff, this season’s only Champions League group-stage debutants, is that they’re a headline writer’s dream. Yet so far this season, those ‘X shoot down Sheriff’ headlines have been put on hold.

This is because of the feats of Yuriy Vernydub’s side who have sprung surprise after surprise ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Real Madrid – a match with the unlikely billing of ‘first meets second’ in Group D, with the Moldovans currently top of the section.

After qualifying-round wins against two of the big names of Balkan football, Crvena zvezda and Dinamo Zagreb, the newcomers earned a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their first group fixture. It was a match in which they had had 32% of the ball and conceded 17 corners but prevailed thanks to the defensive discipline which has brought seven clean sheets (and just two goals against) in nine matches played in this breakthrough Champions League campaign. As Frank Castañeda, their Colombian captain, told the Spanish sports daily Marca on the eve of this fixture: “Defensively we’re very strong and organised tactically.”

Sheriff – who take their name from the company which runs the club – are based in the region of Transnistria and their starting XI against Shakhtar featured not a singleMoldovan. Instead there were players carrying the passports of Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Mali, Peru and Uzbekistan. Judging by his opening-night efforts, spectators at the Santiago Bernabéu should keep an eye on the 21-year-old Ghanaian defensive midfielder, Edmund Addo, in particular.

Atlético will be looking to improve on their goalscoring issues


Atleti’s attacking doubts

While Real Madrid take on the new boys, neighbours Atlético de Madrid visit one of the competition’s great names, AC Milan, in what is the seven-time winners’ first home Champions League fixture since 2014. By coincidence, that last San Siro outing in the competition was a 1-0 home defeat by Atleti in the round of 16, courtesy of a Diego Costa goal.

The Spanish titleholders travel to Italy having failed to score in three of their last four. Luis Suárez is still seeking his first Champions League goal since leaving Barcelona (and first in an away fixture for six years) while Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Alavés left the spotlight on the latest arrival from Camp Nou, Antoine Griezmann, who has yet to produce a goal, assist or even shot on target in five appearance since his summer return to the Spanish capital. Whether the San Siro, where the Frenchman missed a penalty in the 2016 final, brings a change of luck remains to be seen.

We meet again

This week also brings two reunions – and revenge missions –involving Manchester teams. Manchester United host Villarreal in Group F looking to avenge their defeat (11-10 on penalties) in last season’s Europa League final. It is an occasion that will see Cristiano Ronaldo, if selected, break Iker Casillas’s Champions League appearances record with his 178th outing.

Across the Channel, Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to make amends for last season’s semi-final loss to Man City, the team who prevailed 2-1 at the Parc des Princes en route to a 4-1 overall success in May. City will be buoyed by having won Saturday’s Champions League final rematch against Chelsea, and this Group A contest will hold added spice for the reunion between Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola – the Argentinian having recovered from a knee problem in time to face his former Barcelona coach. Guardiola would insist otherwise, but the perfect moment to get his first PSG goal…?

One thing we can safely say about Sheriff, this season’s only Champions League group-stage debutants, is that they’re a headline writer’s dream. Yet so far this season, those ‘X shoot down Sheriff’ headlines have been put on hold.

This is because of the feats of Yuriy Vernydub’s side who have sprung surprise after surprise ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Real Madrid – a match with the unlikely billing of ‘first meets second’ in Group D, with the Moldovans currently top of the section.

After qualifying-round wins against two of the big names of Balkan football, Crvena zvezda and Dinamo Zagreb, the newcomers earned a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their first group fixture. It was a match in which they had had 32% of the ball and conceded 17 corners but prevailed thanks to the defensive discipline which has brought seven clean sheets (and just two goals against) in nine matches played in this breakthrough Champions League campaign. As Frank Castañeda, their Colombian captain, told the Spanish sports daily Marca on the eve of this fixture: “Defensively we’re very strong and organised tactically.”

Sheriff – who take their name from the company which runs the club – are based in the region of Transnistria and their starting XI against Shakhtar featured not a singleMoldovan. Instead there were players carrying the passports of Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Mali, Peru and Uzbekistan. Judging by his opening-night efforts, spectators at the Santiago Bernabéu should keep an eye on the 21-year-old Ghanaian defensive midfielder, Edmund Addo, in particular.

Atlético will be looking to improve on their goalscoring issues


Atleti’s attacking doubts

While Real Madrid take on the new boys, neighbours Atlético de Madrid visit one of the competition’s great names, AC Milan, in what is the seven-time winners’ first home Champions League fixture since 2014. By coincidence, that last San Siro outing in the competition was a 1-0 home defeat by Atleti in the round of 16, courtesy of a Diego Costa goal.

The Spanish titleholders travel to Italy having failed to score in three of their last four. Luis Suárez is still seeking his first Champions League goal since leaving Barcelona (and first in an away fixture for six years) while Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Alavés left the spotlight on the latest arrival from Camp Nou, Antoine Griezmann, who has yet to produce a goal, assist or even shot on target in five appearance since his summer return to the Spanish capital. Whether the San Siro, where the Frenchman missed a penalty in the 2016 final, brings a change of luck remains to be seen.

We meet again

This week also brings two reunions – and revenge missions –involving Manchester teams. Manchester United host Villarreal in Group F looking to avenge their defeat (11-10 on penalties) in last season’s Europa League final. It is an occasion that will see Cristiano Ronaldo, if selected, break Iker Casillas’s Champions League appearances record with his 178th outing.

Across the Channel, Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to make amends for last season’s semi-final loss to Man City, the team who prevailed 2-1 at the Parc des Princes en route to a 4-1 overall success in May. City will be buoyed by having won Saturday’s Champions League final rematch against Chelsea, and this Group A contest will hold added spice for the reunion between Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola – the Argentinian having recovered from a knee problem in time to face his former Barcelona coach. Guardiola would insist otherwise, but the perfect moment to get his first PSG goal…?

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

One thing we can safely say about Sheriff, this season’s only Champions League group-stage debutants, is that they’re a headline writer’s dream. Yet so far this season, those ‘X shoot down Sheriff’ headlines have been put on hold.

This is because of the feats of Yuriy Vernydub’s side who have sprung surprise after surprise ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Real Madrid – a match with the unlikely billing of ‘first meets second’ in Group D, with the Moldovans currently top of the section.

After qualifying-round wins against two of the big names of Balkan football, Crvena zvezda and Dinamo Zagreb, the newcomers earned a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their first group fixture. It was a match in which they had had 32% of the ball and conceded 17 corners but prevailed thanks to the defensive discipline which has brought seven clean sheets (and just two goals against) in nine matches played in this breakthrough Champions League campaign. As Frank Castañeda, their Colombian captain, told the Spanish sports daily Marca on the eve of this fixture: “Defensively we’re very strong and organised tactically.”

Sheriff – who take their name from the company which runs the club – are based in the region of Transnistria and their starting XI against Shakhtar featured not a singleMoldovan. Instead there were players carrying the passports of Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Mali, Peru and Uzbekistan. Judging by his opening-night efforts, spectators at the Santiago Bernabéu should keep an eye on the 21-year-old Ghanaian defensive midfielder, Edmund Addo, in particular.

Atlético will be looking to improve on their goalscoring issues


Atleti’s attacking doubts

While Real Madrid take on the new boys, neighbours Atlético de Madrid visit one of the competition’s great names, AC Milan, in what is the seven-time winners’ first home Champions League fixture since 2014. By coincidence, that last San Siro outing in the competition was a 1-0 home defeat by Atleti in the round of 16, courtesy of a Diego Costa goal.

The Spanish titleholders travel to Italy having failed to score in three of their last four. Luis Suárez is still seeking his first Champions League goal since leaving Barcelona (and first in an away fixture for six years) while Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Alavés left the spotlight on the latest arrival from Camp Nou, Antoine Griezmann, who has yet to produce a goal, assist or even shot on target in five appearance since his summer return to the Spanish capital. Whether the San Siro, where the Frenchman missed a penalty in the 2016 final, brings a change of luck remains to be seen.

We meet again

This week also brings two reunions – and revenge missions –involving Manchester teams. Manchester United host Villarreal in Group F looking to avenge their defeat (11-10 on penalties) in last season’s Europa League final. It is an occasion that will see Cristiano Ronaldo, if selected, break Iker Casillas’s Champions League appearances record with his 178th outing.

Across the Channel, Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to make amends for last season’s semi-final loss to Man City, the team who prevailed 2-1 at the Parc des Princes en route to a 4-1 overall success in May. City will be buoyed by having won Saturday’s Champions League final rematch against Chelsea, and this Group A contest will hold added spice for the reunion between Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola – the Argentinian having recovered from a knee problem in time to face his former Barcelona coach. Guardiola would insist otherwise, but the perfect moment to get his first PSG goal…?

Caught by the Sheriff
Blog

Caught by the Sheriff

In the second edition of matchweek blogs, Champions Journal writer Simon Hart returns and has crunched the numbers ahead of the next round

WORDS Simon Hart

One thing we can safely say about Sheriff, this season’s only Champions League group-stage debutants, is that they’re a headline writer’s dream. Yet so far this season, those ‘X shoot down Sheriff’ headlines have been put on hold.

This is because of the feats of Yuriy Vernydub’s side who have sprung surprise after surprise ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Real Madrid – a match with the unlikely billing of ‘first meets second’ in Group D, with the Moldovans currently top of the section.

After qualifying-round wins against two of the big names of Balkan football, Crvena zvezda and Dinamo Zagreb, the newcomers earned a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their first group fixture. It was a match in which they had had 32% of the ball and conceded 17 corners but prevailed thanks to the defensive discipline which has brought seven clean sheets (and just two goals against) in nine matches played in this breakthrough Champions League campaign. As Frank Castañeda, their Colombian captain, told the Spanish sports daily Marca on the eve of this fixture: “Defensively we’re very strong and organised tactically.”

Sheriff – who take their name from the company which runs the club – are based in the region of Transnistria and their starting XI against Shakhtar featured not a singleMoldovan. Instead there were players carrying the passports of Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Mali, Peru and Uzbekistan. Judging by his opening-night efforts, spectators at the Santiago Bernabéu should keep an eye on the 21-year-old Ghanaian defensive midfielder, Edmund Addo, in particular.

Atlético will be looking to improve on their goalscoring issues


Atleti’s attacking doubts

While Real Madrid take on the new boys, neighbours Atlético de Madrid visit one of the competition’s great names, AC Milan, in what is the seven-time winners’ first home Champions League fixture since 2014. By coincidence, that last San Siro outing in the competition was a 1-0 home defeat by Atleti in the round of 16, courtesy of a Diego Costa goal.

The Spanish titleholders travel to Italy having failed to score in three of their last four. Luis Suárez is still seeking his first Champions League goal since leaving Barcelona (and first in an away fixture for six years) while Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Alavés left the spotlight on the latest arrival from Camp Nou, Antoine Griezmann, who has yet to produce a goal, assist or even shot on target in five appearance since his summer return to the Spanish capital. Whether the San Siro, where the Frenchman missed a penalty in the 2016 final, brings a change of luck remains to be seen.

We meet again

This week also brings two reunions – and revenge missions –involving Manchester teams. Manchester United host Villarreal in Group F looking to avenge their defeat (11-10 on penalties) in last season’s Europa League final. It is an occasion that will see Cristiano Ronaldo, if selected, break Iker Casillas’s Champions League appearances record with his 178th outing.

Across the Channel, Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to make amends for last season’s semi-final loss to Man City, the team who prevailed 2-1 at the Parc des Princes en route to a 4-1 overall success in May. City will be buoyed by having won Saturday’s Champions League final rematch against Chelsea, and this Group A contest will hold added spice for the reunion between Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola – the Argentinian having recovered from a knee problem in time to face his former Barcelona coach. Guardiola would insist otherwise, but the perfect moment to get his first PSG goal…?

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

One thing we can safely say about Sheriff, this season’s only Champions League group-stage debutants, is that they’re a headline writer’s dream. Yet so far this season, those ‘X shoot down Sheriff’ headlines have been put on hold.

This is because of the feats of Yuriy Vernydub’s side who have sprung surprise after surprise ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Real Madrid – a match with the unlikely billing of ‘first meets second’ in Group D, with the Moldovans currently top of the section.

After qualifying-round wins against two of the big names of Balkan football, Crvena zvezda and Dinamo Zagreb, the newcomers earned a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their first group fixture. It was a match in which they had had 32% of the ball and conceded 17 corners but prevailed thanks to the defensive discipline which has brought seven clean sheets (and just two goals against) in nine matches played in this breakthrough Champions League campaign. As Frank Castañeda, their Colombian captain, told the Spanish sports daily Marca on the eve of this fixture: “Defensively we’re very strong and organised tactically.”

Sheriff – who take their name from the company which runs the club – are based in the region of Transnistria and their starting XI against Shakhtar featured not a singleMoldovan. Instead there were players carrying the passports of Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Mali, Peru and Uzbekistan. Judging by his opening-night efforts, spectators at the Santiago Bernabéu should keep an eye on the 21-year-old Ghanaian defensive midfielder, Edmund Addo, in particular.

Atlético will be looking to improve on their goalscoring issues


Atleti’s attacking doubts

While Real Madrid take on the new boys, neighbours Atlético de Madrid visit one of the competition’s great names, AC Milan, in what is the seven-time winners’ first home Champions League fixture since 2014. By coincidence, that last San Siro outing in the competition was a 1-0 home defeat by Atleti in the round of 16, courtesy of a Diego Costa goal.

The Spanish titleholders travel to Italy having failed to score in three of their last four. Luis Suárez is still seeking his first Champions League goal since leaving Barcelona (and first in an away fixture for six years) while Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Alavés left the spotlight on the latest arrival from Camp Nou, Antoine Griezmann, who has yet to produce a goal, assist or even shot on target in five appearance since his summer return to the Spanish capital. Whether the San Siro, where the Frenchman missed a penalty in the 2016 final, brings a change of luck remains to be seen.

We meet again

This week also brings two reunions – and revenge missions –involving Manchester teams. Manchester United host Villarreal in Group F looking to avenge their defeat (11-10 on penalties) in last season’s Europa League final. It is an occasion that will see Cristiano Ronaldo, if selected, break Iker Casillas’s Champions League appearances record with his 178th outing.

Across the Channel, Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to make amends for last season’s semi-final loss to Man City, the team who prevailed 2-1 at the Parc des Princes en route to a 4-1 overall success in May. City will be buoyed by having won Saturday’s Champions League final rematch against Chelsea, and this Group A contest will hold added spice for the reunion between Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola – the Argentinian having recovered from a knee problem in time to face his former Barcelona coach. Guardiola would insist otherwise, but the perfect moment to get his first PSG goal…?

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

One thing we can safely say about Sheriff, this season’s only Champions League group-stage debutants, is that they’re a headline writer’s dream. Yet so far this season, those ‘X shoot down Sheriff’ headlines have been put on hold.

This is because of the feats of Yuriy Vernydub’s side who have sprung surprise after surprise ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Real Madrid – a match with the unlikely billing of ‘first meets second’ in Group D, with the Moldovans currently top of the section.

After qualifying-round wins against two of the big names of Balkan football, Crvena zvezda and Dinamo Zagreb, the newcomers earned a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their first group fixture. It was a match in which they had had 32% of the ball and conceded 17 corners but prevailed thanks to the defensive discipline which has brought seven clean sheets (and just two goals against) in nine matches played in this breakthrough Champions League campaign. As Frank Castañeda, their Colombian captain, told the Spanish sports daily Marca on the eve of this fixture: “Defensively we’re very strong and organised tactically.”

Sheriff – who take their name from the company which runs the club – are based in the region of Transnistria and their starting XI against Shakhtar featured not a singleMoldovan. Instead there were players carrying the passports of Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Mali, Peru and Uzbekistan. Judging by his opening-night efforts, spectators at the Santiago Bernabéu should keep an eye on the 21-year-old Ghanaian defensive midfielder, Edmund Addo, in particular.

Atlético will be looking to improve on their goalscoring issues


Atleti’s attacking doubts

While Real Madrid take on the new boys, neighbours Atlético de Madrid visit one of the competition’s great names, AC Milan, in what is the seven-time winners’ first home Champions League fixture since 2014. By coincidence, that last San Siro outing in the competition was a 1-0 home defeat by Atleti in the round of 16, courtesy of a Diego Costa goal.

The Spanish titleholders travel to Italy having failed to score in three of their last four. Luis Suárez is still seeking his first Champions League goal since leaving Barcelona (and first in an away fixture for six years) while Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Alavés left the spotlight on the latest arrival from Camp Nou, Antoine Griezmann, who has yet to produce a goal, assist or even shot on target in five appearance since his summer return to the Spanish capital. Whether the San Siro, where the Frenchman missed a penalty in the 2016 final, brings a change of luck remains to be seen.

We meet again

This week also brings two reunions – and revenge missions –involving Manchester teams. Manchester United host Villarreal in Group F looking to avenge their defeat (11-10 on penalties) in last season’s Europa League final. It is an occasion that will see Cristiano Ronaldo, if selected, break Iker Casillas’s Champions League appearances record with his 178th outing.

Across the Channel, Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to make amends for last season’s semi-final loss to Man City, the team who prevailed 2-1 at the Parc des Princes en route to a 4-1 overall success in May. City will be buoyed by having won Saturday’s Champions League final rematch against Chelsea, and this Group A contest will hold added spice for the reunion between Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola – the Argentinian having recovered from a knee problem in time to face his former Barcelona coach. Guardiola would insist otherwise, but the perfect moment to get his first PSG goal…?

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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