In a night that will be etched in Al Nassr’s history books, Cristiano Ronaldo captained the team to a stellar 2-0 victory against Persepolis in the AFC Champions League’s opening round of Group E fixtures at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran. This victory not only marked a triumphant return for Al Nassr to the Champions League but also positioned them at the helm of their group standings.
Despite the echoes of silence that dominated the stadium due to the absence of fans—a disciplinary penalty carried over from 2021—Al Nassr’s energy was palpable. A strong opening saw Al Nassr make an assertive mark early in the game. Ronaldo, always the man under the spotlight, narrowly missed putting the visitors ahead with a header that Persepolis’ goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand, managed to collect.
As the game progressed, tension escalated, culminating in a turning point: Persepolis midfielder, Milad Sarlak, received his marching orders in the 51st minute for a second yellow card, reducing the hosts to ten men.
With the advantage in their court, Al Nassr intensified their assault. Abdulrahman Ghareeb combined brilliantly with the legendary Ronaldo to find the back of the net in the 62nd minute. Mohammed Qasim, celebrating his return to the starting lineup, further solidified the lead with a striking goal a mere ten minutes later.
Despite Persepolis’s claims for a penalty, VAR consultations backed the on-field decision, and play proceeded undeterred. The final whistle heralded Al Nassr’s domination, clinching three valuable points and setting the stage for their upcoming clash against Tajikistan’s Istiklol on Oct. 2.
With Ronaldo’s experience, paired with the squad’s evident synergy, Al Nassr’s campaign in the AFC Champions League is off to a promising start.