TEHRAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo was suspended for his first Asian Champions League game on Tuesday, but his team Al Nasr beat Iranian club Persespor 2-0 in Tehran Leith.
The game was played behind closed doors as Persepolis was ordered by the Asian Football Confederation to play the game without fans as Indian club Goa complained about offensive social media posts by the Iranian team in 2021 at the Azadi Stadium.
This means Iranian fans have been denied the chance to see Cristiano Ronaldo and other big-money signings from the Saudi club, such as Sadio Mane and Marcelo Brozovic. Both goals were attributed to Saudi players.
Abdulrahman Ghareeb scored after 60 minutes and defender Mohammed Qassem doubled the lead 12 minutes later, his first for the Riyadh club. goals. Cristiano, who leads the Saudi Professional League’s goalscoring list, had a chance after 20 minutes, but he headed straight towards the goalkeeper unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.
Although the atmosphere inside the stadium was calm, Ronaldo’s appearance caused considerable excitement in the local area. Hundreds of local fans gathered at Al Nasr’s hotel, hoping to catch a glimpse of the 38-year-old Portuguese superstar while chanting his name.
The situation became so chaotic that Al Nasr, who is still seeking his first continental title, was unable to train.
Al-Nasr’s win puts them top of Group E, with Qatar’s Duhail and Tajikistan’s Istiklal tied without a goal. Only the top 10 in each group, as well as the six best second-placed teams in the 40-team tournament, will advance to the second round.
Al Nasr’s visit to Iran is the first by a Saudi Arabian club since 2015, after the two sides restored diplomatic relations in June under the mediation of China.
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