Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr secured a resounding 2-0 victory over Persepolis in the opening match of the Asian Champions League. This remarkable win not only showcased the prowess of the Saudi Club but also demonstrated their ability to capitalize on a numerical advantage.
Al-Nassr wins over Persepolis 2-0
The turning point of the match occurred seven minutes into the second half when Iranian clubs’ Milad Sarlak received a red card for a second bookable offense. This pivotal moment shifted the momentum decisively in Al-Nassr’s favor. Sarlak’s challenge on Ronaldo during a midfield tussle by stepping on his foot proved costly for the Iranian side.
Ten minutes after the red card, the former Real Madrid striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, showcased his impeccable playmaking abilities. He released Marcelo Brozovic into the penalty area, providing the perfect opportunity to unlock Persepolis’ resilient defense. Abdulrahman Ghareeb capitalized on Brozovic’s precision, slotting the ball into the net with a deflected strike.
Al-Nassr continued their relentless pursuit of victory, with Mohammed Qassem doubling their lead in the 72nd minute. Qassem’s strike from a tight angle on the left found the roof of Alireza Beiranvand’s net. This goal not only secured the win but also showcased the team’s unwavering determination and offensive prowess.
The Saudi Club forward Sadio Mane aptly summarized the match, stating, “It was a good game, even though the first half was a little bit difficult for both teams. We played well in the second half, created some chances, and scored two goals. I think we deserved to win tonight.” Mane’s words echoed the sentiment that the Saudi Club victory was a result of their outstanding performance.
The match was played in the Azadi Stadium, but it was notably empty. This absence was due to a ban imposed on Iranian clubs by the Asian Football Confederation two years ago, depriving thousands of fans who had eagerly followed Ronaldo’s journey since his arrival in Tehran of attending the game. Despite the empty stands, Al-Nassr’s remarkable win resonated with fans worldwide.
With this victory, Al-Nassr jumped to the top of their division, taking a two-point lead over Hernan Crespo’s Al-Duhail. In a different Group A match, Kodjo Laba of Togo guided Al Ain to a decisive 3-0 victory over Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor, tying them on points with FC Ahal of Turkmenistan.