RIYADH — Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner with a stunning goal keeping Al Nassr’s hopes of winning the Saudi Pro League title alive after defeating Al Shabab 3-2.
The victory leaves Al Nassr three points behind Al Ittihad, who defeated bottom of the table Al Batin to stay on top of the league.
With just two games to be played in the Saudi League, Ronaldo’s Al Nassr side need their rivals to drop points while making sure they win the remainder of their own games.
Al Shabab looked to have dented Al Nassr’s faint hopes of winning the title early on, with Argentinian forward Cristian Guanca putting the Riyadh-based side up two goals in the first half.
Al Nassr clawed his way back into contention with goals from Talisca and Abdulrahman Ghareeb either side of half time.
Ronaldo then put Al Nassr 3-2 up with a brilliant solo strike.
Running from near the halfway line the Portuguese attacker shrugged off a challenge, jinked around another defender and curled a long-distance shot around the Al Shabab goalkeeper to claim the win.
It brings the star player’s personal tally to 18 goals in 14 games since arriving in the Kingdom.
The chances of starting his time in Saudi Arabia with silverware to go with the reported $214ma-year salary remain slim, however.
Under Saudi league rules, if teams are tied at the top of the league the result is decided not on goal difference, but on head-to-head performance.
With Al Ittihad besting Al Nassr in the league this year a tie would hand the title to Ronaldo’s rivals.
Al Nassr next play on Saturday, May 27 against Ettifaq. Al Ittihad, meanwhile, could secure the championship with a victory over Al Fehia on the same day. — Agencies