Ronaldo’s Integrity Prevails: Al-Nassr Secures Draw in Asian Champions League Clash

Cristiano Ronaldo’s integrity played a pivotal role in negating a penalty awarded to him, as his 10-man Al-Nassr side secured a 0-0 draw against Iran’s Persepolis in the Asian Champions League on Monday.

In the opening moments, Ronaldo went down in the box, prompting the referee to point to the spot.

 However, Ronaldo, along with Persepolis players, contested the decision. Referee Ma Ning, after consulting the pitchside monitor, reversed his initial call.

In the first half, Al-Nassr defender Ali Lajimi was shown a red card for a dangerous challenge on Milad Sarlak. Ronaldo, exiting the game with a neck injury later on, gave his Saudi Arabian team a late scare.

Nevertheless, Al-Nassr had already secured qualification for the knockout stages as the Group E winner, maintaining an unbeaten record.

The Riyadh team entered the match with a remarkable record, having won 18 of its previous 19 games in all competitions.

In the same group, Qatar’s Al-Duhail secured its first victory by defeating Istiklol of Tajikistan 2-0, with prolific Kenyan striker Michael Olunga scoring both goals.

Moving to Group C, Argentine coach Marcelo Gallardo secured his first win since taking charge of Al-Ittihad this month.

 The Saudi Arabian champion defeated AGMK of Uzbekistan 2-1 to advance to the knockout stages.

Two goals in four first-half minutes from Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hamdallah provided Al-Ittihad with the lead after Karim Benzema missed opportunities.

 Late in the game in Tashkent, Martin Boakye pulled a goal back for AGMK. «We had to work hard from the first whistle, but we kept trying to advance as much as we could, and Hamdallah delivered with two well-taken goals», said Gallardo.

The top team from each of the 10 groups in the tournament, divided into two geographic halves until the final, advances to the round of 16 along with the six best-placed runners-up.


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