Where to watch Cristiano Ronaldo’s matches for Al-Nassr
Ronaldo and co. were last seen in a 2-0 defeat to Al Hilal in the Saudi Pro League and it was only their fourth loss of the season in all competitions. Al-Nassr beat Abha 3-1 in the quarter-finals and will be confident of going all the way to clinch their seventh King’s Cup trophy.
Al-Wehda are without a win in their last five league games but managed to beat Al-Batin 2-1 in the quarter-finals to set up Monday’s highly anticipated clash against Al-Nassr.
Al Nassr pushed hard for an equalizer and piled plenty of pressure on the Al-Wehda defense, especially after the visitors had been reduced to 10 men.
Abdullah Al-Hafith was sent off eight minutes into the second half following an ugly challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo.
By the end of the match, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner sat on his haunches as the full-time whistle blew, signaling a second successive defeat for Al Nassr and another disappointing cup exit. Al Nassr are winless and goal-less in their last three in all competitions.
Their lowly King Cup opponents newly-promoted to the Saudi Pro League and 31 points below Ronaldo’s team in 13th place — won the semifinal despite being reduced to 10 men.
Late in the match, Ronaldo fired a free-kick wildly over the crossbar after Al Wehda centre-back Abdullah Al-Hafith brought him down at the edge of the area and earned a second booking. Ronaldo also hit the crossbar with a first-time half-volley in the closing stages.
Al Nassr have now failed to score in three consecutive matches in all competitions, while Ronaldo has gone two hours and 54 minutes without a goal for his out-of-sorts side.
The veteran thought he had scored before Al Nassr went behind in the first half, but he was denied in literally breathtaking fashion by El Kajoui, as the brave goalkeeper took Ronaldo’s volley from point-blank range square in the chest to somehow keep it from crossing the line. It was a play that required treatment after the netminder was left winded by the shot.
El Kajoui produced another exceptional stop to tip Ronaldo’s shot away shortly after the restart, with Al Wehda centre-back Oscar Duarte making the first of his two goal-line clearances during the game to repel Sultan Al-Ghanam’s header from the rebound.
Al Wehda held on for more than 40 minutes despite being down a man, helped by Al Nassr’s wastefulness from shooting and crossing opportunities. They will be huge underdogs against Al Hilal in the King Cup final.
It’s been a fairly rough season for Ronaldo, who moved to Saudi Arabia at the end of last year, with Al Nassr sitting in second place behind Al Ittihad in the table with the season reaching the business end of the schedule.
The out-of-favour Portugal international signed on with Al Nassr in December after a falling out with Man United manager Erik ten Hag, and Ronaldo had few chances offered up to play elsewhere before joining the Saudi club.
Ronaldo’s emotions have gotten the better of him on several occasions and most recently he narrowly avoided a red card in last Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Al Hilal when he took down an opposing player with a flying headlock.
It’s another sad chapter in what has been a season to forget for the Portuguese forward. After leaving Manchester United under a cloud in November, he had hoped for an upturn in his fortunes in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nassr. But the team were eliminated from the Super Cup back in January, are out of the King Cup and trail Al-Ittihad by three points in the Pro League having played a game more. The team is currently without a coach after Rudi García left “by mutual agreement” a fortnight ago. Dinko Jelicic has taken charge in a caretaker capacity until a permanent coach is found.
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