Al-Nassr Beat Shabab Al-Ahli In 6-goal Thriller To Qualify For Champions League


After back-to-back defeat in the Saudi Pro League, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr responded well by beating Shabab Al Ahli 4-2 in Riyadh Tuesday night to qualify for the Asian Champions’ League group stage.

The star-studded Al Nassr came from behind to triumph 4-2 in the play-off at Mrsool Park, with Brazilian Anderson Talisca scoring twice and Croatia international Marcelo Brozovic rounding off the win. Nassr had been two minutes from exiting the tournament.

The result means Nassr, last season Saudi Pro League runner-up, moves into the group phase, which begins next month.

Ronaldo, a five-time UEFA Champions League winner, was making his debut in Asian football’s top club competition after signing for the Riyadh club last December.

Nassr opened the scoring in 11th minute when Taslica headed home a Brozovic corner. However, Yahya Al Ghassani levelled for UAE champions Shabab Al Ahli seven minutes later, the winger slotting the ball into the Nassr net after the Dubai side countered.

Ronaldo, 38, left the pitch at half-time clearly frustrated and was seen arguing with the referee. The Al Nassr captain believed he should have had two penalties in the first half.

Then, one minute after half-time, Al Ghassani raced clear of the Nassr defence to flick the ball over Nawaf Al Aqidi and put Shabab Al Ahli in front.

However, Nassr equalised with two minutes of normal time remaining, when full-back Sultan Al Ghannam’s header was diverted into his own goal by Walid Abbas.

Nassr’s comeback was complete five minutes into the allotted seven minutes of injury time, with Talisca nodding home from close range. Moments later, as Shabab Al Ahli chased the equaliser, Ronaldo teed up Brozovic to drill his shot into the net and make save the game.

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