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Sheriff make historical past as first Moldovan facet to succeed in Champions League group stage



The club completed a marathon qualifying process by holding Dinamo Zagreb in a tie to qualify for the actual first round

FC Sheriff made its name in Champions League history on Wednesday when Moldova finished in the group stage for the first time.

The club entered the second leg of the play-offs against Dinamo Zagreb in a commanding position and only had to avoid losing to secure their place.

A 0-0 win in Croatia was enough to write a new chapter in the history of one of the most fascinating football clubs in Europe.

A marathon journey

Sheriff has certainly been made to work for her place alongside heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, ​​Juventus and defending champions Chelsea.

After starting the 2021/22 Champions League in the first qualifying phase, the Moldovans had to negotiate three rounds and six games to prepare for this final before the group stage.

The club sent Teuta from Albania, Armenian champions Alashkert and Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade before taking on Dinamo, and their hopes for an unlikely spot in the actual first round got a huge boost last week when the Croatians at 3 : 0 were defeated Tiraspol.

The goalless draw on Wednesday was enough for the sheriff to get through at Dinamo’s expense, which led to cheering scenes on the square.

Moldova’s finest – kind of

The club has long held a prominent position in Moldovan football, winning nine of the last 10 titles and, as of 2015, six in a row.

However, whether or not the sheriff is actually in Moldova is controversial. Tiraspol is the capital of Transnistria, a breakaway state on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border where the majority of its citizens are ethnic Russians and not Moldovans.

Although it is not recognized by any member of the United Nations – although Russia has a consulate and an army presence – Transnistria is recognized as a de facto semi-independent presidential republic, while its parliament submitted a failed application for integration into Russia in 2014 after the occupation and annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean region.

As another curiosity, it is the only state in the world that continues to use the Soviet hammer and sickle symbol on its national flag.

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