It is not the premiere that Cristiano expected when he landed in Riyadh. Two games of suspension carried over from his stage in England, a discreet debut without a goal and now his first big disaster. Defeat in the semifinals of the Arabian Super Cup. And what hurts the most, the opportunity to win his first title vanishes. This script for the moment is closer to the drama than to the epic with a happy ending.
The Al Ittihad, coached by his compatriot Nuno Espírito Santo, has inflicted his first major disappointment on the Portuguese in Arabia. El Nassr fell heavily in the second semifinal of the Arabian Super Cup and is left without the possibility of fighting to win the title. Cristiano suffers his first disappointment with the Al Nassr shirt.
Cristiano, used to playing big games, had in his second game with Al Nassr the ideal setting to shine, but the Portuguese was not good. At all times, yesThe team was overwhelmed by the intensity and good play displayed by Al Ittihad, third ranked in the league. A very tough opponent who showed signs of controlling the tempo of the game. An intensity that materialized in the 15th minute when a perfect offensive combination ended the shot at will by the Brazilian Romarinho. It was 1-0, before which the rookie Russi could do more. A goal that accused Al Nassr. It wasn’t until the final stretch of the first half that he warmed up and threatened the rival goal, but then he fell into the trap woven by Nuno. Al Nassr was overly encouraged in search of an equalizer and left their rear guard unprotected. That was the Portuguese coach’s plan… and it worked out wonderfully. In a perfect counterattack, Hamed Allah headed unopposed a good assist from Romarinho, the man of the match. A blow for Al Nassr but not for Cristiano, who did not give up. And he pointed out that he was about to close the gap before the break but his good header was repelled by the rival goalkeeper when a goal was already being sung. It was a flash of fury from a crack angry at the result.
Talisca pulls the team
Rudi García tried his team’s reaction with four changes of blow but could not find the formula to pierce the granite defense of Al Ittihad. But in football everything can change in a minute. Champion teams are like that, even though they have kissed the canvas they are always dangerous. Cristiano tried, especially with an ideal heeled free kick for him. But unlike on other occasions he did not end up kissing the nets. It is clear that he is not yet comfortable in a new competition. He did find the goal, Talisca, the other name of this team. It was minute 67. The Brazilian, formerly of Benfica and Besiktas, is one of the few who propose something different, since Cristiano excessively abuses being the only reference in the area. A 2-1 that ruffled Al Nassr, but Nuno’s team is built to suffer and it did. He even enjoys doing it. Already with all the Al Nassr overturned, Muhannad Shanqeeti put the final lace finishing a counterattack.
It will be Nuno’s Al Ittihad Whoever plays the final on Sunday in a Super Cup of surprises since Al Hilal, the other great in the country, was also eliminated 1-0 by the modest Al Feiha. Whoever thought that Cristiano Ronaldo’s stage in Arabia was going to be a triumphant ride… was wrong. This game was the best example of him.