Ronaldo, Otavio, Brozovic score as Al Nassr thrashes Al Taawoun 4-1 in Saudi Pro League


Skipper Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the dying minutes of the second half to hand his team, Al Nassr, a convincing away victory over in-form Al Taawoun in the Saudi Pro League at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah on Saturday.

Al Taawoun started on the front foot, forcing a controversial penalty call in the 9th minute that saw Aschraf El Mahdioui convert from the spot after Nassr custodian, Nawaf Alaqidi, initially denied him. Ronaldo, frustrated by the decision, earned a yellow card for his dissent.

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But Al Nassr’s response was swift and emphatic. Marcelo Brozovic unleashed a stunning 30-yard rocket in the 26th minute, equalising for the visitors. Minutes later, Aymeric Laporte rose highest to head home a Brozovic corner, putting Al Nassr ahead.

The second half saw Al Nassr extend its lead with Otavio casually slotting home after a defensive error from Al Taawoun. Ronaldo came close to adding his name to the scoresheet, rattling the woodwork with a thunderous strike in the 71st minute.

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Al Nassr goalkeeper Alaqidi kept his team’s lead intact with a brilliant save from Mateus Castro in the 81st minute. And just as the clock ticked into injury time, the moment everyone was waiting for arrived. Ronaldo, assisted by Foussena Fofana, leapt high to meet a cross with a bullet header, sending the away supporters into a frenzy.

It was a fairytale ending for Ronaldo, who capped off a remarkable 2023 with his 54th goal of the calendar year. 

Al Nassr finishes the first half of the season in second position, seven points behind league leaders Al Hilal. 

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