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Al-Ain Defeat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr 1-0 in the AFC Champions League Quarterfinal First Leg

Al-Ain Defeat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr 1-0 in the AFC Champions League Quarterfinal First Leg

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr are in the mission of conquering the Saudi Arabian top-flight football and Asian club football competitions this season. Just yesterday, the second-best team in the oil-rich Saudi Pro League had Al-Ain from the UAE Pro League on the cards for their first-leg game in the AFC Champions League Quarterfinals, but to the surprise of many, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr did not come out on top against their opponents. Instead, it was the UAE outfit who showed dominance over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr, winning the game with the margin of 1-0 prior to the returning leg.

To add insult to injury, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr will be without Aymeric Laporte for the second leg of this continental tournament following the 29-year-old ex-Manchester City player’s red card in the dying moments of the second half.


Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr Fell to 10 Men in the 1-0 Defeat

Similar to the performance in the domestic league competition as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr, Al-Ain, who are now managed by Hernán Crespo, the legendary striker at the Argentina national team and football clubs such as Club Atlético River Plate, Parma Calcio 1913, SS Lazio, Inter Milan, Chelsea, AC Milan as well as Genoa CFC, are also the second-ranked team in the UAE Pro League at the moment. The Crespo-led Al-Ain began their AFC Champions League Quarterfinals with a first-leg match against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, before the contest of the second leg being played at their opponents’ home ground next week.

Moments prior to the first-half injury time was awarded, Al-Ain finally broke the stalemate in the tight battle, courtesy of Soufiane Rahimi. Yahia Nader was left all alone outside the penalty box, and he gave the ball away to Paraguayan striker Kaku, who then found his 27-year-old strike partner Rahimi inside the dangerous zone. The forward proceeded to round his goalkeeper David Ospina and bagged the ball into the empty net for the only goal of the game via his quick feet.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr tried to make things all square again in the remainder of this AFC Champions League Quarterfinals, but to no avail. What was worse was that the Saudi Pro League side were forced to play the final 10 minutes of the cup tie with a man down due to Laporte’s marching orders. The ex-player for the three-time English Premier League winners Manchester City were given a straight red card due to a scuffle with Bandar Mohamed, and that decision from referee meant the Spanish defender can only watch the second-leg game from the sidelines at home.

Read Next: Frenkie de Jong and Pedri Injured in FC Barcelona’s Dreadful 0-0 Stalemate Against Athletic Club


Talisca Was Missed in Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr’s AFC Champions League Game

With a goal and a man down, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr were unable to rally themselves back into the AFC Champions League Quarterfinal first leg, meaning they will be playing catchup in the second leg of this cup tie next time around; The 1-0 defeat in the hands of Al-Ain was also Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr‘s first loss in a competitive game in 2024, having last lost an official game back in December 2023.

As soon as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr were defeated by Al-Ain, fans have tied the disappointing result with the absence of several star players in the squad, namely Brazilian striker Talisca and former FIFA World Cup finalist with Croatia Marcelo Brozović. The 30-year-old high-scoring forward with 26 goals this season for Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr was unavailable due to an injury occurred during a practice session, while ex-Inter Milan midfielder Brozović did not survive the cut for selection over foreign player rules in the competition. Al-Nassr are set to return to home and host Al-Ain at Al-Awwal Stadium for the second leg in the AFC Champions League Quarterfinals in a week’s time.

Ronaldo’s former club at the Italian Serie A Juventus are pretty much out of contention in winning the domestic league campaign at the end of 2023/2024. This is because the second-placed Old Lady succumbed to a 2-1 loss to the defending Italian champions SSC Napoli at the latter’s home while league leaders Inter Milan have opened up a enormous 15-point lead at the summit of the league table with their 2-1 win over Geona CFC a day later. Check out this article in case you have missed the actions in that SSC Napoli-Juventus clash in the Italian top-flight football.


Statements After Al-Nassr’s AFC Champions League Loss

The 62-year-old Castro offered his verdicts on why his and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr fell short in yesterday’s AFC Champions League Quarterfinal clash against Al-Ain, saying “There are many conditions that the club and the players are going through. Clear fatigue and match pressure, and the chance of recovery decreases as the number of matches on the team increases. As the club goes through a period of match pressure, the stress increases and the chances of recovery decrease”.

The Portuguese continued by talking about the approach towards the second leg of this continental cup tie. “Our mission to reach the semi-finals got harder after losing the first leg, but we have another 90 minutes in Riyadh. Even after the expulsion, there is still a chance to qualify from the Riyadh mission.”

Ali Lajami, a defender for Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr, echoed the words of his head coach, and the 27-year-old will be ready for the second leg against Al-Ain at home. He said: “We played a good match, most notably in the second half, and there is still a second half in Riyadh. Defensive problems? I disagree with you. Al-Ain’s goal came after only one chance. Our affairs are good, and it is true that we make mistakes, but, God willing, we will correct them.”

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Steven Mosier

"Eat, breathe and sleep sports" is the life motto of mine. My professional athlete career ended way earlier than I thought, but the passion remains till the present, which is why I am here writing you all the sports news you crave! Also, I am a huge fan of the Premier League as well the NBA.

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