Cristiano Ronaldo scored and assisted a goal each as Al Nassr beat Al Ta’ee 2-1 in a Saudi Pro League match at the Prince Abdul Aziz bin Musa’ed Stadium in Ha’il on Friday.
This was Ronaldo’s 10th goal in six consecutive league matches as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner continues to prove his dominance, following an exit from European football last year.
Al Nassr, playing against a side placed seven spots below it, started the match on the offensive, with a quartet having ample European football experience.
Otavio, Sadio Mane and Anderson Talisca kept the ball progression consistent up the pitch while Ronaldo spearheaded the attack.
However, the 38-year-old was far from his best in terms of finishing, failing to convert at least three chances in the game while Victor Braga, the goalkeeper of Al Ta’ee made his presence known with clinical reflex saves.
The deadlock, however, ended with a quick counter-attack by Al Nassr, wherein Ronaldo set up Talisca on his right, who struck past Braga to help his side take the lead in the 32d minute.
Al Ta’ee shifted gears after the restart but found the visitor’s defence, manned by Aymeric Laporte, a former treble winner with Manchester City.
The compact low-block of Al Nassr, with Alex Telles making wing-runs made the contest look an uphill task for the host until the 79th minute.
Just when Al Nassr was looking to run the game out, Virgil Misidjian caught the defence napping and, making a run behind the back-line struck home the equaliser.
Eight minutes later, Talisca’s header hit Alfa Semedo’s arm in Al Ta’ee’s penalty box, giving the visiting side a glimmer of hope to secure three points, as the referee pointed to the spot after having a look at the incident on the monitor.
Ronaldo sent Braga to the other side, scoring his 10th league goal in six consecutive matches.
The win helped Al Nassr climb two spots to third in the league table, with 18 points from eight games while Al Ta’ee remained at 12th with seven points from eight games.
Ronaldo’s side will now turn its attention to the AFC Champions League, where it faces FC Istikol from Tajikistan, three days later.