Cristiano Ronaldo's exceptional brace leads Al-Nassr to victory over Al-Duhail in the AFC Champions League.


Cristiano Ronaldo’s exceptional brace leads Al-Nassr to victory over Al-Duhail in the AFC Champions League.

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Cristiano Ronaldo showcased a vintage display, netting two remarkable goals to lead Al Nassr to a thrilling 4-3 triumph over Qatar’s Al Duhail in the AFC Champions League.

Former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane and Anderson Talisca also contributed to the scoresheet for the Saudi team late Tuesday, securing their third consecutive victory in the premier Asian club competition’s group stages.

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Talisca initiated the scoring in Riyadh, unleashing a strike from the edge of the box in the 25th minute after a clever back-heeled flick from the 38-year-old Ronaldo, who displayed a full array of skills.

Mane swiftly turned and drilled home a second goal 11 minutes into the second half, while Al Nassr seemed to be cruising when Ronaldo beautifully curled in a third from outside the box, extending the lead to 3-0 just five minutes later.

However, Al Duhail, inspired by former Barcelona and Liverpool winger Philippe Coutinho, rallied back, notching two goals in the following six minutes through Ismail Mohamad and Almoez Ali, creating a tense conclusion to the match.

With nine minutes left, Ronaldo appeared to have the final say as he sprinted onto a long ball from Sultan Al Ghannam and effortlessly volleyed home with his left foot, displaying exceptional skill without breaking stride.

Another twist occurred as Michael Olunga pulled one back, narrowing the scoreline to 4-3 in the 85th minute, setting the stage for a nervy finale.

Al Duhail manager Christophe Galtier expressed admiration for Ronaldo’s exceptional performance, stating, “When you face Ronaldo, there isn’t much you can do. He scored two beautiful goals. I’m at a loss for words to describe him. What he did today is extraordinary for a 38-year-old. He’s still the best player in the world.”

Meanwhile, Al Hilal, without their injured superstar Neymar, secured an impressive 6-0 victory over India’s Mumbai City, with former Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic bagging two goals.

In the East zone, defending champions Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan faced an upset at home, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat by South Korea’s Pohang Steelers, who scored on either side of half-time through Jeong Jae-hee and Goh Young-jun in Saitama.

Urawa now faces a challenging task to qualify for the knockout stages, having secured only four points from their three Group J matches so far, on par with China’s Wuhan Three Towns, who clinched a 2-1 victory against Hanoi FC for their first win.

“Today, Pohang was the better team and deserved to win. Especially in the physical aspect, we couldn’t do too much,” remarked Urawa manager Maciej Skorza.

Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale continued their winning streak with a 4-2 victory against Thailand’s BG Pathum United, creating a three-point lead at the top of Group I over South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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