Karim Benzema scored simply hours after being discovered responsible by a French court docket in a blackmail case as Real Madrid noticed off Sheriff Tiraspol 3-Zero on Wednesday to reach the Champions League knockout stage.
The France striker notched his workforce’s third aim of a assured show in Transnistria, as Real exacted revenge for his or her shock 2-1 loss to Sheriff in Madrid earlier this season.
The victory sends the Spanish giants again to the highest of Group D, two factors away from second-placed Inter Milan, who additionally certified for the final 16 after beating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0.
Madrid now solely must keep away from defeat of their last group recreation in opposition to Inter on the Santiago Bernabeu to complete first within the group.
“We continue along the right path. I like the way we’re playing,” mentioned Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose facet beat Inter 1-Zero of their first group recreation in September.
“The squad is in good shape, everyone is strong physically. It’s important for us to finish top and we’ll be looking to end our group campaign the way we’ve begun it.”
The defeat ends Sheriff’s hopes of progressing, however a memorable debut Champions League marketing campaign has already secured third place and a spot within the Europa League knockout section.
Benzema, who was given a one-year suspended sentence for complicity in a bid to blackmail his former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, had an early effort dominated out for offside.
Madrid have been dominant however struggled to discover a method by, with Rodrygo taking pictures tamely at home goalkeeper Giorgos Athanasiadis within the 18th minute.
But the away facet did forge forward on the half-hour mark by David Alaba.
The Austrian defender’s free-kick was deflected by the Sheriff wall and previous the helpless Athanasiadis.
The hosts have been struggling to get out of their very own half and Dani Carvajal almost added a second for Real when he volleyed narrowly over the crossbar.
The 13-time European champions did double their benefit in first-half stoppage time, although, as a improbable move was ended by Toni Kroos’ first-time shot which flew in off the crossbar and was awarded by goalline know-how.
Benzema received his aim within the 55th minute, discovering area on the sting of the field and drilling the ball into the underside nook to attain for the 15th time this season.
It was additionally the 76th aim of the striker’s Champions League profession.
“We have not talked about it (the court verdict), he is calm, it is a subject concerning him that we have been talking about for a long time,” Ancelotti mentioned.
There was a fear for Real as Alaba hobbled off within the 65th minute to get replaced by Nacho, however Ancelotti mentioned it was not a severe harm.
“We took Alaba off because he twisted his ankle slightly, but I really don’t think it’s a bad problem,” added the Italian. “We are pretty confident that he’ll be ready for the upcoming games.”
Sheriff had scored in every of their first 4 group video games and had a flurry of probabilities halfway by the second half, with Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois making two saves and a cross hitting the publish.
But it was finally a cushty outing for Madrid as they made the knockouts for a 25th consecutive 12 months.