Sheriff Tiraspol produced one of the great Champions League shocks as the competition’s least experienced club upstaged 13-time European champions Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Sebastien Thill snatched victory for the debutants with a stunning final-minute strike, sparking scenes of wild celebration from the visiting team.
Jasurbek Yakhshiboev’s first-half header had given them the lead before Karim Benzema levelled with a penalty.
But Thill’s goal was a worthy way to clinch a historic victory – the Luxembourg midfielder’s half-volley reducing the home crowd to silence as it dipped past Thibaut Courtois.
This was not what Real had planned as the Bernabeu hosted Champions League football for the first time in 580 days, and shouts of celebration from Sheriff players were the soundtrack to a monumental upset.
Real dominated every facet of the game, having 76% possession and 31 shots – 11 of which were on target.
Sheriff, however, played with supreme composure and were ruthless when presented with even a hint of a chance – scoring twice from just three shots on goal.
Who are Sheriff Tiraspol?
The match in the Spanish capital was Sheriff’s 10th Champions League fixture already this season as they came through four rounds of qualifying to reach the group stage for the first time.
A milestone win against Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this month sent them top of Group D, and this remarkable triumph ensures they remain unlikely leaders ahead of illustrious opposition that also includes Italian champions Inter Milan.
While they are still minnows on the European stage, they have won 20 of the 22 Moldovan league titles they have contested, and in the two league games before heading to Madrid, they scored 11 goals and conceded none.
Tuesday’s result meant they became just the second club to win on their first Champions League trip to the Bernabeu, replicating Arsenal’s achievement in 2005-06.
And not since Leicester City in 2016-17 have a side won their opening two games on their debut in the competition.