Brazilian striker Anderson Talisca shone for Al Nassr in Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday, striking a hat-trick in their 3-2 victory against Al Duhail in Qatar.
The Saudi Pro League side rebounded from Philippe Coutinho’s early opener at the Khalifa International Stadium to keep intact its 100 percent record in this year’s competition. Nassr now has 12 points from four matches to sit top of Group E.
AS IT HAPPENED: Al Duhail vs Al Nassr, AFC Champions League Highlights
Ronaldo, who scored twice two weeks ago in Riyadh in the Saudi Arabian club’s 4-3 home win against the same opponents, was rested for the corresponding fixture by Nassr manager Luis Castro.
On Tuesday, Duhail went ahead on eight minutes through Coutinho, when the former Liverpool and Barcelona midfielder slid in to finish Michael Olunga’s low cross for his first Asian Champions League goal. The Nassr bench was in uproar, though, believing Olunga had fouled defender Mohammed Al Fatil in the build-up.
However, the visitor completely turned around the tie in a 10-minute spell late in the first half. First, Talisca exchanged passes with Abdulrahman Ghareeb at the edge of the Duhail area and curled a superb right-footed shot low into the bottom corner.
Then, he collected a short pass from Sadio Mane and, from almost the exact position as his first, skidded a left-footed drive beyond rooted goalkeeper Salah Zakaria.
Taslica completed his hat-trick in 65 minutes, sweeping home a fine move after another one-two with Ghareeb. The treble lifted Talisca to six goals in his past three Champions League matches.
Duhail did pull a goal back through Coutinho’s 80th-minute penalty following Marcelo Brozovic’s handball, but the home side later had substitute Khaled Mohammed sent off in stoppage time.
Also in Group E, two-time runner-up Persepolis strengthened its case for a place in the last 16 with a 1-1 draw at Istiklol in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe. The Iranians had taken an early lead, but were pegged back by the hosts 16 minutes from time.