Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr has qualified for the Asian Champions League group stage after winning in injury time against Shabab Al Ahli in Riyadh on Tuesday.
The Saudi Pro League side came back to win 4-2 in the play-offs at Mrsool Park, with Brazilian Anderson Talisca scoring twice and Croatia international Marcelo Brozovic sealing the win. Nassr has two minutes left to leave the tournament.
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The result means Nassr, last season’s domestic runner-up, will advance to the group stage, which begins next month. Ronaldo, a five-time UEFA Champions League winner, made his debut in Asian football’s top club competition after signing with the Riyadh club last December.
Nassr opened the scoring on the penalty spot, when Taslica headed home after Brozovic’s corner. However, Yahya Al Ghassani leveled for UAE champion Shabab Al Ahli seven minutes later, the winger putting the ball in the net of Nassr shortly after the Dubai team counter-attacked.
Ronaldo, 38, left the field at half-time frustrated and may have argued with the referee. The Portuguese star, captain of Nassr, thinks he should have been awarded two penalties in the first half.
Then, a minute after half-time, Al Ghassani overcame the Nassr defense to pass the ball past Nawaf Al Aqidi and put Shabab Al Ahli ahead.
However, Nassr equalized with two minutes remaining when full-back Sultan Al Ghannam’s header was netted by Walid Abbas.
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Nassr’s comeback was completed after 5 minutes of stoppage time, with Talisca scoring from close range. Moments later, as Shabab Al Ahli chased the equalizer, Ronaldo assisted Brozovic with his shot into the net and kept the game safe.
Elsewhere in the western region, Sharjah of the UAE qualified for the tournament with a 3-1 win over Iran’s Tractor FC, while Uzbekistan’s Navbahor Namangan beat Qatar’s Al Wakrah 1-0 at half-time. extra.
In another play-off on Tuesday, Uzbek AGMK Olmaliq team beat Qatar’s Al Arabi 1-0.