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Cristiano Ronaldo fired Al Nassr ahead against Al Ahli in bizarre circumstances in their Saudi Pro League clash on Friday night. The 38-year-old striker took advantage of Edouard Mendy seemingly being blinded by a yellow smoke bomb to open the scoring in the early stages.
Al Nassr hosted Al Ahli at the KSU Stadium, knowing they would leapfrog their rivals into fifth with a victory.
Aymeric Laporte, Alex Telles, Marcelo Brozovic, Anderson Talisca, Otavia, Sadio Mane and Ronaldo lined up for Al Nassr.
The visitors boasted Mendy, Merih Demiral, Roger Ibanez, Franck Kessie, Riyad Mahrez, Gabri Veiga, Allan Saint-Maximin and Roberto Firmino, making for a high-profile clash after Saudi Arabia’s summer splurge.
But it was Ronaldo who drew first blood after just four minutes, receiving the ball from Mane on the break before finishing a piercing run by slotting past Mendy with a low left-footed strike.
Whether the former Chelsea goalkeeper could see Ronaldo properly is controversially up in the air, surrounded by a cloud of yellow smoke from the home stand behind his goal.
He got a hand on the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s effort but couldn’t reach it, suggesting that he may not have had a clear line of vision through the smoke.
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Talisca added a second after 17 minutes to cement Al Nassr’s control in the game before Kessie responded on the half-hour mark.
On the brink of half-time, Talisca sensationally scored his second of the match, handing Al Nassr a 3-1 advantage at the break.
Ronaldo had enjoyed an incredible Saudi Pro League campaign so far as he approaches one year since his explosive Manchester United exit.
Earlier this week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that re-signing Ronaldo in 2021 was ultimately the wrong decision, despite his prolific goalscoring exploits in his first season back at Old Trafford.
“It was a decision that was very difficult to turn down and I felt we had to take it, but it turned out wrong,” Solskjaer told The Athletic.
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“It felt so right when he signed, and the fans felt that at that Newcastle game when Old Trafford was rocking [after Ronaldo scored twice in a 4-1 win].
“He was still one of the best goalscorers in the world. He was looking strong.”
The Portuguese icon has registered eight goals and four assists in six appearances for Al Nassr this term, including a hat-trick against Al Fateh in August.
But his strike against fellow former Champions League winner Mendy was one of the more contentious of his spell in Saudi Arabia to date.
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