Cristiano Ronaldo loved a successful debut within the Asian Champions League as he helped Al Nassr to a 2-0 victory in opposition to 10-man Persepolis in Iran on Tuesday evening.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has 5 UEFA Champions League titles to his identify, captained the Saudi Arabian facet to a gap three factors in Group E.
The match on the Azadi Stadium in Tehran was performed with out followers after the Asian Soccer Confederation (AFC) upheld a one-game ban for Persepolis supporters courting again to 2021.
That clearly helped Nassr, who grabbed each objectives within the second half in opposition to the two-time runners-up, by way of a Danial Esmaeilifar personal objective and a effective strike by defender Mohammed Qassem.
It marked the primary time a Saudi membership performed in Iran since 2016, after the AFC introduced a “ground-breaking settlement” earlier this month between the 2 nations’ federations.
Iran and Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties seven years in the past, which means Asian Champions League matches had been since performed at impartial grounds.
Ronaldo, 38, was closely concerned all through, twice going shut within the first half.
His preliminary probability – a robust, close-range header – was despatched straight at Persepolis goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand which left Ronaldo beating the put up in frustration.
Nassr’s hopes grew significantly initially of the second half, when Persepolis midfielder Milad Sarlak was given a second yellow card, this time for showing to stamp on Ronaldo’s boot.
Replays confirmed it was unintentional, the contact minimal.
Ronaldo performed a key function in Nassr’s opener simply after the hour, the Portuguese instigating the transfer that led to Abdulrahman Ghareeb’s blocked shot cannoning off Persepolis full-back Esmaeilifar and nestling within the web.
Ten minutes later, Nassr left-back Mohammed Qassem broke down the left and thumped his shot excessive previous Beiranvand to double the guests’ benefit and safe the factors.
Within the group’s different match, Iran’s Istiklol had been held to a goalless attract Dushanbe by Qatari heavyweights Al Duhail.
In Group A, 2003 winners Al Ain secured a powerful 3-0 victory at Pakhtakor in Tashkent, whereas Turkmenistan facet Ahal defeated Saudi opponents Al Fayha 1-0 at dwelling to file solely a second win within the competitors.
Within the East Asian facet of the draw, South Korea’s Incheon United opened their Group G account with a 4-2 win over J.League champions Yokohama F Marinos in Japan.
In consequence, Incheon sit on three factors alongside Chinese language Tremendous League facet Shandong Taishan, who had been made to work for his or her 3-1 victory in Manila over Kaya-FC Iloilo of the Philippines.
In Group I, South Korean champions, and 2020 Asian Champions League winners, Ulsan Hyundai received at dwelling over Thailand’s BG Pathum United 3-1, whereas Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale noticed off hosts Johor Darul Ta’zim 1-0 in Malaysia.
The group stage, which this 12 months returned to a home-and-away format for the primary time since early 2020, runs till mid-December, with the ten pool winners and the six finest second-placed groups advancing to the knockout rounds.
That begins in February with the ultimate happening throughout two legs in Could.
Supply: sports activities.inquirer.web