OGUN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – In the Asian Champions League on Monday, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 10-man Al-Nassr team managed to draw 0-0 with Persepolis of Iran owing to his honesty, which also helped to negate a penalty he was given.
Earlier in the match, Ronaldo went down in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. However, Ronaldo and the Persepolis players disagreed with the call. Referee Ma Ning reversed his ruling after consulting the pitch side monitor.
Following a risky challenge on Milad Sarlak, Al-Nassr defender Ali Lajimi was sent off in the first half, while Ronaldo’s injury to his neck gave his Saudi Arabian teammates a late fright.
With one game remaining, Al Nassr emerges victorious from Group E and advances to the knockout stages thanks to the draw. The Riyadh team entered the match having triumphed in 18 of its previous 19 contests across all competitions.
Al-Duhail of Qatar won its first game in the same group, defeating Tajikistan’s Istiklol 2-0. Both goals were scored by prolific Kenyan striker Michael Olunga.
Earlier in Group C, the Saudi Arabian champion overcame AGMK of Uzbekistan 2-1 to advance to the knockout stages, giving Argentine coach Marcelo Gallardo his first victory since joining Al-Ittihad this month.
After Karim Benzema squandered opportunities, Moroccan attacker Abderrazak Hamdallah gave Al-Ittihad the lead with two goals in four first-half minutes.
Martin Boakye gave AGMK a late goal to tie the score in Tashkent.
“We had to work hard from the first whistle but we kept trying to get forward as much as we could and Hamdallah came good with two well-taken goals,” Gallardo said.
The top team from each of the 10 groups of four in the tournament, which is divided into two geographic halves until the final, advances to the round of 16 along with the six best-placed runners-up.