Benzema reaches milestone in loss; Salah scores 2; Suarez gets late winner

Sports Desk, Sep 28 (EFE).- Real Madrid stalwart Karim Benzema converted a penalty against Sheriff Tiraspol in Tuesday’s Champions League match to go fourth all-time in the competition with 74 goals, but the feat was overshadowed by the final score: 2-1 in favor of the side from Transnistria.

Sheriff surprised many two weeks ago when they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in their first-ever contest in Europe’s elite club tournament.

Yet the idea that a team founded in 1997 could hold their own, let alone prevail, against the side that has won the Champions League a record 13 times was inconceivable.

The Blancos had 76 percent possession, outshot the visitors 31-4 and won 13 corners to zero for Sheriff, but the team from the Moldovan National League left the Santiago Bernabeu as the Group D leaders with 6 points, 3 more than Real Madrid.

Sheriff went ahead in the 25th minute on a goal by Jasurbek Yakhshiboev and goalkeeper Giorgios Athanasiadis made a succession of fine saves to stymie Real Madrid until after the hour mark.

Two minutes after the Blancos’ appeal for a penalty was waved off, Fernando Costanza fouled Vinicius Jr. on the edge of the box and the referee pointed to the spot.

The hosts pulled level thanks to Benzema and looked a good bet to go on and win.

But Athanasiadis denied Vinicius, Luka Modric and Eder Militao to keep it 1-1 until the final minute of regulation, when Sebastien Thill won it for Sheriff with a great strike from outside the area.

The attacking trio that powered Liverpool to the Champions League title in 2019 and the 2020 Premier League crown combined for five goals on Tuesday as the Reds clobbered Porto 5-1.

Mohamed Salah got the party started in the 18th minute and Sadio Mane made it 2-0 for the traveling side just before the break. The Egyptian extended the lead in the 60th minute.

Mehdi Taremi clawed back a goal for Porto in the 74th minute, only to see Roberto Firmino score a brace in the span of four minutes.

Liverpool are top of Group B with 6 points, 2 better than Atletico Madrid, 2-1 winners Tuesday over AC Milan.

Rafael Leao put the Rossoneri ahead with a goal in the 20th minute. but the hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 29th after Franck Kessie picked up a second yellow card.

Despite the man advantage, the Colchoneros were still trailing in the 84th minute when second-half sub Antoine Griezmann brought them level with his first goal since returning to Atleti.

A Milan hand ball in stoppage time set up Suarez’s match winner from the penalty spot. EFE apa/dr

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