Al-Nasr virtually relinquished the title. But then Ronaldo turned on
Anatoly Romanov May 23, 2023, 23:55 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
Cristiano’s goal keeps the team hopeful in the championship. It is true that the chances are low.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his Al-Nasr continue to fight for the championship. But in this round they almost lost the gold. The team was left in the race for a decisive victory with a decisive goal from the Portuguese.
Cristiano has reasons to consider leaving Saudi Arabia:
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With three rounds to go, Al-Nasr was three points behind Al-Ittihad, who was in first place. At the same time, the championship leader of Saudi Arabia had an advantage over Ronaldo’s team in personal meetings. Today, Al-Nasr’s opponent was its closest pursuer, Al-Shabaab, which, however, was far behind, by seven points.
The game has been swinging for a long time. Al-Shabab, even outside, felt at home, controlled the ball more. By the way, Grzegorz Krychowiak, who left Krasnodar, as well as such well-known football players in Europe as Ever Banega and Santi Mina, play for this team. Al-Nasr played in a 4-4-2 formation with Ronaldo and Anderson Taliska up front and hoped to use the free space in his own half of the pitch. Cristiano had the first moment only in the middle of the first half, but he threw the ball into the penalty area and fell.
Then there were more interesting events. In the 23rd minute, the Italian referee Daniele Orsato, specially invited for this match, awarded a penalty against Al-Nasr after a VAR indication. The repetition helped him to see the hand of former Bayern midfielder Luis Gustavo. The 11-meter shot was converted by Argentine Cristian Guanca – the goalkeeper was close to the save, he touched the ball, but did not drag it.
Having received a slap in the face, Al-Nasr began to attack more aggressively. Ronaldo almost equalized after half an hour of play. As in the best years, Cristiano came to the center from the left side: he jumped high and won martial arts in the air. However, he was not lucky: the ball hit the crossbar. But Al-Shabab scored the second goal in the 40th minute with a second shot on goal. The guests came up with a nice combination with two walls in front of the penalty area, and Guanca himself scored a double, breaking at touch.
Ronaldo shook his head in disgust – the star striker was upset by the team’s game. However, Al-Nasr still reduced the gap on the scoreboard before the break. The hosts “drew” a triangle from the left into the Al-Shabab penalty area, followed by a pass by Taliska’s gate. The Brazilian with the class of him cracks those moments like nuts.
After the break, Al-Nasr, led by Ronaldo, raced for a decided victory. The first moment was presented to the locals by Krychowiak, who lost the ball in front of the penalty area. But this time, Taliska spared the guests. And in minute 51 the hosts tied. Al-Nasr tore into the left flank of the Al-Shabaab defence, with attacking midfielder Abdulrahman Ghareb given too much freedom on the goalkeeper line. He managed to give two touches, turn around and hit. The defenders did not protect the Korean goalkeeper Kim Sung-kyu, but only watched the game.
And at the end of the match hour, it was Ronaldo’s turn! Cristiano opened and received the ball on the left midfield, after which he decided the episode by individual actions. One defender (Fawaz Al-Sagurk) flew away from Cristiano, like a weak youngster, and the other (Brazilian Iago Santos) had no time for the Portuguese. The striker “Al-Shabab” broke through to the shock position and fired into the far corner at an average height. Ronaldo performed everything so flawlessly that the Korean goalkeeper had no chance to save the team. A champion like Cristiano will always fight for gold until the end.
Photo: Stringer/Getty Images
There were nerves at the end. However, Al-Nasr led the game to victory, preventing Al-Shabaab from hitting the target even once in the second half. And Ronaldo could score more. After his fall, a controversial offside was recorded in the penalty area, however, Cristiano himself, rather, jumped into the water. The statistics of the Portuguese player in this game are: 37 touches, four shots (one on goal), one pass under shot, 85% successful passes, one self-inflicted foul, two of seven games won, 11 turnovers and one successful bargain.
Al-Ittihad also won their match and is now one step away from the championship.