Cristiano Ronaldo returned to form with a goal and an assist as Al Nassr beat Al Riyadh 4-1 in the Saudi Pro League at Al-Awwal Park in Riyadh on Friday.
With no wins in three consecutive games, Al Nassr started the match on the offensive from kick-off, almost scoring within the first minute through Sadio Mane, only to see the goal get ruled out off-side.
The breakthrough eventually arrived after the half-hour mark, when Mane, with a run along the left flank, set up Ronaldo, who studded the ball in with his right foot.
Al Riyadh, which looked overtly defensive throughout the first half, failed to contain the continuous attacks as Ronaldo combined with Otavio to double the lead in the third minute of first-half injury time.
The Portuguese captain shifted to his right, side-stepping two defenders to lob the ball into the centre, which was headed in by a rushing in Otavio.
The host showed no signs of slowing down after restart as Anderson Talisca got his name on the scoresheet in the 67th minute, guiding Mane’s low cross from the left with his first touch.
Al Riyadh chose to reply almost immediately, with substitutes Andre Gray and Juanmi attacking against the run of play and getting the result within a minute. Juanmi set up Gray in the Nassr box and the former Burnley and Watford forward used all his experience to shoot it past Nawal Al Aqidi.
Though the two continued trying to find more spaces in the final third, Al Nassr chose to end the contest with another set-piece goal in the second half injury time. Sultan Al-Ghannam’s cross from the right was headed home by Talisca, securing maximum points for Luis Castro’s side.
The win keeps Al Nassr second in the standings, seven points off leader Al Hilal while Al Riyadh dropped one spot to 14th after its eighth loss in the league.
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