Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — Al-Nassr showcased a remarkable feat of resilience as they overcame a spirited challenge from Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai in a gripping showdown, securing a spot in the group stage of the AFC Champions League with a resounding 4-2 victory.
Facing a 2-1 deficit against visiting Al-Ahli Dubai, Al-Nassr orchestrated a stunning turnaround, converting it into a triumphant 4-2 victory.
The standout performances came from Brazilian star Anderson Talisca, Sultan Al-Ghanam, and Croatian talent Marcelo Brozović.
In a nail-biting match that spanned just nine minutes, the Saudi team made history by clinching an unforgettable comeback.
This victory not only saved them from an early exit in the Asian tournament but also positioned them as strong contenders for continental glory, alongside other formidable teams.
Al-Nassr’s entry into the forthcoming edition of the AFC Champions League solidifies their place alongside fellow Saudi clubs Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad, and Al-Fayha. The draw for the group stage is set to take place next Thursday.
Under the guidance of Portuguese coach Luis Castro, Al-Nassr’s foreign quintet, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, demonstrated their prowess.
Ronaldo was flanked by Senegalese Sadio Mané, Brazilian standout Talisca, Croatian talent Marcelo Brozović, and Ghislain Konan.
In a strategic move, Castro reinstated goalkeeper Nawaf Al-Aqidi to the starting lineup, after his absence in the previous league match.
The defensive lineup consisted of Sultan Al-Ghanam, Mohammed Al-Fatil, Abdulilah Al-Omari, and Konan. In midfield, Abdelmajid Al-Sulaihem, Abdullah Al-Khaibri, Brozović, Talisca, and Mané were deployed, while Ronaldo led the attack.
Brazilian star Talisca swiftly gave his team the lead in the 11th minute with a precise header, capitalizing on a corner from Brozović.
However, Al-Ahli Dubai responded shortly after, equalizing through Yahya Al-Ghassani in the 18th minute, seizing on a pass from Mounes Dabour.
During the first half, Al-Nassr dominated the proceedings, while Al-Ahli Dubai relied on counterattacks. Despite their control, Al-Nassr couldn’t find the net in the first half.
As the second half kicked off at the Al-Awal Park Stadium, Yahya Al-Ghassani continued to shine, netting his second goal of the match, giving Al-Ahli Dubai a 2-1 lead.
With the odds stacked against them, Al-Nassr’s coach introduced several attacking options, sacrificing defensive players to secure the win. Sultan Al-Ghanam leveled the score in the 88th minute.
In the dying moments of the game, Talisca secured his brace, propelling Al-Nassr ahead in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Croatian talent Brozović sealed the deal with a final-minute goal, solidifying Al-Nassr’s triumphant 4-2 victory.