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 Cristiano Ronaldo was handed a debut for Al Nassr against Ettifaq on Sunday as the veteran striker made his first Saudi Pro League appearance His debut for Al Nassr was delayed as 37 year old Ronaldo served a two match ban imposed by the English Football Association for an incident that saw him slap a phone from the hand of a young Everton supporter in a game at Goodison Park last season Ronaldo was handed the captain s armband having already featured for a Riyadh All Stars team scoring twice against Lionel Messi s Paris Saint Germain this week The striker from Madeira enjoyed a winning start as his Al Nassr side overcame a gritty Ettifaq in a game which started brightly but lost its spark as the contest unfolded Cristiano showed flashes but was well marshalled by the Commandos from Dammam Brazilian Talisca was the hero of the night though as it was his headed goal just past the half hour mark that secured maximum points for the home side that was enough for Rudi Garcia s men to recover top spot in the league With today s 1 0 win over Ettifaq Al Nassr return to the top of the Roshn Saudi League as they leapfrog both Al Hilal and Al Ittihad The next league game for Rudi Garcia s men will be on 3 February when they face Al Fateh away So what did we think about Ronaldo s debut today He certainly showed glimpses of what he can do and linked up well with Talisca and Pity Martinez Dying seconds of the game now as Ettifaq over hit a cross and surely thats it Just one shot on target all evening from Ettifaq which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the visitors who have been average Three minutes to be added Final minute of the contest and the second half has failed to match the high tempo first 45 that we enjoyed Cristiano looks comfortable now and has carved out some decent chances in this half Al Nassr will look to the win though and the three points that sees them leapfrog back to the top of the Saudi Pro League table Al Mosa Ettifaq carded for disagreeing rather vociferously about a referring decision Still time for Ettifaq to cause a shock here with just the Talisca header dividing the sides I m struggling to recall anything like a decent chance on goal from the side from Dammam as the clock ticks down CR7 nearly gets his goal as once again the Ettifaq keeper does well in denying the home side as he saves with his feet albeit from an acute angle Al Nassr are in Saudi Super Cup action next week as they face Al Ittihad in the semi final Their next league action is an away game against Al Fateh on 3 February Ettifaq seem to have managed to survive the wave of constant attack from Al Aalami as the clock ticks down How much the home fans would love to see a goal from Ronaldo The ball now being peppered on the Ettifaq goal What a shot from Talisca as the Brazilian is assisted by Ronaldo once again Ettifaq s best player of the night Paulo Victor saves well Great play from Al Nassr as Cr7 finds Pity Martinez and that s a fine volley from the Argentine as the keeper saves well Al Nassr really knocking on the door now Ettifaq win a dangerous free as Vitinho is upended Five in the Al Nassr wall as it s the Brazilian who strikes but that was poor Wide and nothing for Nawaf Al Aqidi to worry abouy Nice work from Cristiano as he works a nice one two and drives on goal but the ball strikes a man in green for a corner for Al Nassr The start to the second half pretty much sees us continue where we left off in the first 45 Al Nassr dominate the action as the Commanders look to strike with Vitinho and Quaison the outlets for Ettifaq The home side need that second goal to quell any nerves The noise levels from the first half seem to abated with a more serene atmosphere now The noise levels at spells in the first 45 were indeed impressive Ali Lajami takes an elbow to the ribs and needs medical attention The No 78 is back on his feet and seems okay to carry on Off we go Ettifaq start the second half The home side emerge and receive a warm round of applause Al Nassr will be back in action next Thursday as they face Al Ittihad in the semi final of the Saudi Super Cup As things stand the solitary goal from Talisca would be enough to propel Al Nassr back to the summit of the Saudi Pro League table So what to make of Cristiano s first 45 minutes of competitive football since representing Portugal at the 2022 Qatar World Cup The whistle sounds and that brings the end to the half and Cristiano Ronaldo s first 45 minutes of top flight Saudi Pro League action We ll have one minute of time to be added on It s been a half with plenty of endeavour from Ronaldo but Talisca is the player who has shone tonight with the Brazilian bagging the goal and good in distribution Half chance for Ettifaq as Vitinho blasts the ball into the side netting in a rare break forward for the side in green Less than ten minutes of the half remain and just the Talisca goal separate the sides Free for Al Nassr as Talisca is upended this is vintage CR7 territory is it current CR7 territory No poor from the striker as he gets the ball up well but it just fails to come down on time and easy for Victor to let go Fine header from the Brazilian latching on to the flighted ball as CR7 was unable to get his head onto the ball Despite their being a decent pace to the game neither keeper has been called into action yet with Ettifaq s Victor the more active of the two stoppers Talisca Martinez and CR7 are still yet to get on the same wavelength as play is held up as a collision forces the ref to halt the action Card for Mowalad Ettifaq for leading with studs showing Another big appeal from CR7 as the striker felt he was wrestled to the ground but once again the ref waves play on and Al Nassr have to settle for a corner The home side now very much on top Brazilian Talisca looked good in the exhibition game on Thursday with the striker bagging one of the finest goals of the nine all night Big appeal from the home fans as Ronaldo is robbed of the ball on the edge of the Ettifaq box unfairly for the Mrsool Park supporters but the ref waves play on Cristiano strikes and the ball is deflected behind for a corner by Tisserand First corner of the night for Al Nassr as Ettifaq clear behind for yet another corner kick Pity Martinez and CR7 just fail to connect as the ball runs through to Paulo Victor with the Brazilian one of Ettifaq s seven non Saudi players A hint of early game nerves maybe for the striker with great noise levels being generated by the home fans Flares now burn to give the atmosphere a Istanbul derby feel A huge Vamos tifo in yellow and blue greets the teams as the Saudi national anthem plays Face of intense concentration on Ronaldo as he wears the captains armband Al Nassr in their traditional yellow and blue with Ettifaq in green and white very much a Mexico kit vibe from the visitors CR7 leads the line as part of a 4 5 1 employed by French coach Rudi Garcia Just over ten minutes before the game gets underway Our pre match prediction favours a home win with the Knights of Najd boosted by Cristiano s presence with the Portuguese striker to find the target tonight We go for a 4 0 win sorry Ettifaq fans Just 2 points seperate Al Hilal at the summit and Al Nassr in third with The Blue Waves having played 15 games Al Ittihad on 14 with the 13 of Al Nassr Riyadh rivals Al Hilal have just beaten Abha FC 1 2 to go top of the Saudi Pro League ahead of the Al Nassr and Ettifaq which closes matchday 14 Patrice Careton names his side to face Al Nassr this evening with Velkovski and Mahnashi both ruled out through injury Vitinho will lead the line for the Commandos this evening So the news that many have been anxious to see Cristiano Ronaldo makes his Saudi Pro League debut for Al Nassr at Mrsool Park Talisca and Pity Martinez will accompany the Portuguese in the Al Nassr frontline with Nawaf Al Aqidi selected to replace the injured David Ospina Ettifaq s French manager Patrice Carteron returns to Mrsool Park where back in 2017 he was manager The 53 year old is something of a coaching globetrotter having overseen the likes of Al Ahly Mazembe Phoenix Rising and Raja Casablanca The Portuguese star has been unable to debut for his new team due to a FIFA ban after the player slapped a teenager s phone in a moment of frustration last April at Old Trafford He was hit with a 61 000 fine and a two game suspension which he has now served after missing the SPL games against Al Ta ee and Al Shabab Saudi Pro League regulations permit all top flight clubs to have seven non Saudi players as part of the first team squad Ronaldo is one of the seven with Colombian keeper David Ospina being the other high profile player Alvaro Gonzalez Spain The former Villarreal and Marseille man is a versatile centre back Pity Martinez Argentina Looking to redeem himself after a lacklustre spell with MLS side Atlanta United and recover the River Plate form that saw him an integral part of Gallardo s side Luis Gustavo Brazil Now 35 the veteran Brazilian is most known for his time with Bundesliga sides Bayern and Wolfsburg Cristiano s deal with the Roshn Saudi League side runs for two and a half years through to June 2025 with the player set to earn a total salary of 231m per year once commercial agreements are also included The deal is thought to be the highest salary ever paid to a professional footballer The home dressing room at the Mrsool Park stadium is ready with just less than 90 minutes to go to kick off in Riyadh with today s Roshn Saudi League generating huge levels of international interest with the game being shown live in the likes of Italy Portugal and Germany As the 2022 23 Roshn Saudi League heads towards the halfway mark of the season Al Nassr are well positioned to make an assault for the league title as they trail Nuno Espirito Santo s Al Ittihad by just one point having played a game less than the Jeddah based side All three major title contenders Al Ittihad Al Nassr and third placed Al Hilal have been beaten just once all season and it seems inevitable that one of the big three of Saudi football will claim the 22 23 title Thoughts now turn back to the domestic campaign as Al Nassr will look to maintain pressure of table toppers with Nuno Espirito Santo s Al Ittihad holding a one point lead over Al Nassr as the Riyadh knights face tenth placed Ettifaq Thursday night s game was possibly the last time we will see two recent greats of the game on the pitch for the last time as CR7 and Messi shared the pitch at the King Fahd Stadium After joining the Riyadh based side on 30 December last month this is the day that all Al Nassr fans have been waiting for as Cristiano Ronaldo pulls on the yellow and blue shirt for the first time in a competitive match Credit https en as com soccer al nassr ettifaq live online cristiano ronaldo debut score stats and updates saudi pro league n
Al Nassr