Friday, June 14, 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo goes off for Al-Nassr in Asian Champions League but defensive woes could limit success

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Taking part in Asian Champions League, Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr needed every goal that they could get from Cristiano Ronaldo in a 4-3 victory over Qatari side Al-Duhail on Tuesday. Involved in three goals, Ronaldo fired the club top of their group with a perfect nine points in three matches. They’ve now scored nine goals in Champions League play but defensively there is room for improvement after allowing four goals in three matches.

Even with stars like Sadio Mane joining Ronaldo at Al-Nassr, the Portuguese superstar has been critical to their performances with 14 goals and seven assists in only 14 matches. It’s quite an uptick in his production last season where he scored 14 goals and assisted two in 16 matches in the Saudi Pro League. Surrounding Ronaldo with more talent has helped a lot but he still has individual brilliance of his own at 38.

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He scored a wonderful first time volley in the match and somehow that wasn’t even his best goal as he sent a curling shot from outside the box past the Al Duhail keeper. It’s a stunning goal that few are able to pull off and Ronaldo still makes it look easy.

As long as he can continue to do things like that, Al-Nassr will be among the contenders for a Champions League title but he may need to do even more if they continue conceding so many goals. After adding Aymeric Laporte form Manchester City, the expectation was for the defense to improve but it has still proven to be a work in progress. 

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