Saudi Pro League team Al Nassr needed a late surge to book a spot in the group stage draw for the Asian Champions League with a 4-2 win over United Arab Emirates side Shabab Al Ahli in Riyadh on Tuesday.
Anderson Talisca gave Al Nassr a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute but Yahya Al Ghassani doubled him up with two goals that put the UAE squad up 2-1 late.
In the nick of time, however, Sultan Al Ghannam punched a header into the goal in the 88th minute to tie things up. Talisca notched his second goal in the fifth minute of injury time to take a 3-2 lead. Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo then helped put the match away with a set-up to Marcelo Brozovic for a goal that made it 4-2.
Al-Nassr will get some reinforcements before their next march with the arrival of Portugal midfielder Otavio, who is coming over from Porto. The Saudi team is reportedly paying a transfer fee of 60 million euros ($65.08 million) for the star midfielder. The 28-year-old scored 31 goals in 283 matches for Porto since joining in 2014.
Uzbekistan clubs Navbahor and AGMK, as well as UAE club Sharjah also moved on to the group stage draw.
Given the amount of money they’ve poured into their roster, Al-Nassr’s nail-biting finish and result certainly garnered some reactions from the soccer world.
Cristiano Ronaldo is back in the Champions League after 4+ years. Now he will break Asian Champions League records https://t.co/YTM8yTuQXk
— ErlingRobotHaaland (@erling9robot) August 22, 2023
When you have a winning mentality and a leader like #Ronaldo, impossible is nothing.
Score 3 goals in 9 minutes? No problem!
Al Nassr qualifies for the Asian #ChampionsLeague #Brozovic #Talisca https://t.co/g8fLSHX0l3
— Hrayr Dallakyan (@HrayrDallakyan) August 22, 2023
Al Nassr scored 3 goals in 8 minutes to qualify for the Champions League.
They learned clutchness from Ronaldo 😂🐐 pic.twitter.com/kElxSVO33z
— M (@madridfooty_) August 22, 2023
Picture is Ronaldo but he didn't score 💀 https://t.co/sydZ8nZ3u2
— Rafiq Abudulai (@rafiqabudulai) August 22, 2023