Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr Qualified for the AFC Champions League After Scoring Three Goals in Nine Minutes to Overcome Shabab Al-Ahli 4-2 in Playoffs

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr Qualified for the AFC Champions League After Scoring Three Goals in Nine Minutes to Overcome Shabab Al-Ahli 4-2 in Playoffs

Cristiano Ronaldo-led Al-Nassr were on the verge of not qualifying for the AFC Champions League when they were 2-1 down against Shabab Al-Ahli, but three late goals in nine minutes were sufficient to overcome their slow start in the match and subdue their UAE ADNOC Pro League opponent for a spot in the AFC Champions League Group Stage. Although 38-year-old Al-Nassr captain and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo was not on the scoresheet of the game, he became a focal point when he was seen furious against the officials for a few decisions the latter made in the match.

Al-Nassr 2-1 Down Until the 88th Minute of the AFC Champions League Playoff

Al-Nassr were determined not to extend their two-game losing streak since their impressive 2-1 win over Al-Hilal in the Arab Club Champions Club Final. Nevertheless, after Brazilian striker Talisca opened the scoring for the home side in this AFC Champions League Playoff, the visiting team quickly equalised seven minutes later and earned their first lead one minute into the following half, thanks to a brace from Emirati winger Yahya Al-Ghassani. The 25-year-old’s outstanding performance meant Cristiano Ronaldo’s team had to dig deep in the remaining playing time if they wanted to qualify for the AFC Champions League Group Stage.

With two minutes left before the added time was awarded, Luis Castro’s Al-Nassr side finally levelled things up, courtesy of right-back Sultan Al-Ghannam’s strike. The 29-year-old rose to the top among all players when an Al-Nassr cross was delivered into the penalty box, before his header deflected into the back of the net to tie the score in AFC Champions League Playoffs. His effort also kickstarted a goal frenzy for the home side, as Al-Nassr scored another two in the injury time with Talisca’s second goal of the evening and Marcelo Brozović’s shot.

In the 90+5th minute, Sadio Mané tried to find Ronaldo in the box with a long ball but the Portugal national team skipper was unable to meet the former’s pass. The ball then fell in front of 22-year-old winger and substitute Ayman Yahya to start another attack, who then found Talisca to regain Al-Nassr’s lead in this AFC Champions League Playoff match. The icing on the cake was perfectly laid seconds later when Ronaldo teed up Croatian midfielder Brozović to seal the 4-2 victory over Shabab Al-Ahli and helped Al-Nassr qualify for the AFC Champions League Group Stage.

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Ronaldo Furious Over Referee

Although Ronaldo did not score any of Al-Nassr’s goals in this AFC Champions League Playoff fixture, the 38-year-old caught spectators’ attention when he was seen complaining to the match referee over several uncalled penalty incidents before heading towards the dressing room for the half-time break. Videos went on to show that the Funchal-born football megastar has told match officials to “Wake up” while refereeing the match, with teammate and fellow attacking player Talisca also echoing his captain’s feelings. Ronaldo’s anger was further justified when he pushed an individual, who wanted to take a selfie with him, out of the way and continued to walk off.

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Al-Nassr Signed Ronaldo’s National Teammate Otavio

With Al-Nassr qualifying for the AFC Champions League Group Stage after the 4-2 comeback win over Shabab Al-Ahli and the team finally snapping their losing streak in all competitions, Ronaldo must have been relieved with his team’s performance. The 38-year-old will be more delighted to know that his Portugal national teammate and attacking midfielder Otávio will be joining him at Al-Nassr, after the Saudi Pro League club broke the bank to make the 28-year-old their most expensive player in club history.

It is reported that Al-Nassr has activated the player’s release clause and paid Portuguese Primeira Liga outfit FC Porto €60 million for the transfer. The João Pessoa-born Otávio is set to retain his no. 25 jersey from Porto when he plays for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League this season.

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