Soccer-Ronaldo helps revive Al-Nassr hopes in Saudi title race
(Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo revived Al-Nassr’s slim hopes of winning the Saudi Pro League title in his first season at the club after scoring a penalty to help them to a 2-0 victory over Al-Ta’ee on Tuesday.
With league leaders Al-Ittihad throwing away a two-goal advantage to draw 2-2 with Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr drew to within three points of the top spot with three games remaining in the season.
Al-Ittihad, however, still have the advantage in their head-to-head with Al-Nassr, the first tiebreaker if teams finish level on points.
At Al-Ta’ee Stadium in Ha’il, Ronaldo gave Al-Nassr the lead from the penalty spot just after halftime and Brazilian Talisca settled the game with another goal ten minutes from final whistle.
Ronaldo was also present, in spirit at least, at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium in Riyadh as Al-Hilal scored controversial goals at the end of each half to battle back and hold Al-Ittihad to a draw.
Al-Ittihad took the lead through Igor Coronado and Ahmed Bamsoud in the first half an hour but Musab Aljuwayr cut the deficit four minutes before the break.
The teenager’s cross appeared to have been kept in play by Al-Ittihad goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe and the game continued for more than a minute before VAR confirmed that the ball had in fact crossed the goal line.
It was a deja vu in stoppage time at the end of the match when Al-Hilal forward Michael’s shot appeared to have been cleared by defender Ahmed Hegazy only for VAR to again confirm that the goal-line had been breached.
The Brazilian then rubbed salt into the wound and enraged the Al-Ittihad players by performing Ronaldo’s trademark “Siiii!” goal celebration in front of the visiting fans.
(Reporting by Shady Amir, editing by Nick Mulvenney and Michael Perry)