Ronaldo’s goal gives Al Nassr Asian CL edge

Published February 16, 2024
RIYADH: Al Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo (second L) heads during the AFC Champions League round-of-16 match against Al-Feiha at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium.—AFP
RIYADH: Al Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo (second L) heads during the AFC Champions League round-of-16 match against Al-Feiha at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium.—AFP

RIYADH: Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 21st goal of the season and his fourth in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday as his moment of magic proved decisive in Al Nassr beating Al Fayha 1-0 in an all-Saudi last 16 tie.

At the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, the 39-year-old Portuguese star struggled at first to make much headway against a club sitting 14th in the Saudi Pro League.

Al Fayha have been only one of two teams in the domestic league to prevent Ronaldo from scoring, and that streak looked like stretching to a third match.

Then in the 81st minute, Ronaldo lunged forward and smartly volleyed the ball above the head of the advancing goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic following a quick 1-2 with Marcelo Brozovic.

Ronaldo had earlier missed a much easier chance right on the stroke of half-time, but his weak attempt was saved by Stojkovic.

In other matches on Wednesday, Bangkok United scored a stoppage-time goal against Yokohama F Marinos to force a 2-2 draw, while FC Nasaf and Al Ain played out a goalless draw.

Bangkok United’s substitute Mahmoud Eid slotted home a header in the 92nd minute as the Thai side bounced back from 2-0 down at Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani.

Nitipong Selanon had earlier reduced the deficit with three minutes remaining in the first half.Elber opened the account for the visiting Japanese team in the 18th minute and Watanabe scored from Ren Kato’s measured pass to score the second in the 24th.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors are on the verge of booking their place in the quarter-finals after a 2-0 win over Pohang Steelers.

At Jeonju World Cup Stadium, Jeonbuk, the champions in 2006 and 2016, scored through their Brazilian forward Hernandes in the 17th minute and Ahn Hyun-beom doubled the margin in the 64th.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2024

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