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Ronaldo’s Al Nassr Seal AFC Champions League Knockout Qualification After Persepolis Draw
- Al Nassr booked their place in the Asian Champions League knockout stages
- The Riyadh-based club sealed Group E top spot with a 0-0 draw at home to Iran's Persepolis
- Ronaldo's side face arch-rivals Al Hilal on Friday in a top-of-the-table clash in the Saudi Pro League
Al-Nassr secured their passage to the next phase of the AFC Champions League despite a goalless stalemate against Persepolis on Monday, November 27.
The Knights of Najd join South Korea's Pohang Steelers and three other clubs in advancing early to the subsequent round of Asia's premier club competition.
Entering the game on the back of an impeccable record in Group E with four consecutive wins, Al-Nassr aimed to extend their winning streak against the Iranian champions at the Al-Awwal Park.
However, their momentum took a hit when defender Ali Lajami received a red card just 17 minutes into the game. The early dismissal forced Al-Nassr to weather a storm as Persepolis gained momentum, registering six attempts on goal, three of which were on target.
With ten men, the home side struggled, facing sustained pressure from Persepolis in the second half.
Despite this, a collaborative effort between Ronaldo and Otavio nearly tipped the balance in Al-Nassr's favour, with Ronaldo narrowly missing the target following an adept move inside the box orchestrated by the former FC Porto playmaker.
However, Al-Nassr's close call was the highlight amidst Persepolis' dominance in the latter half.
Despite their persistent efforts, Persepolis couldn't find the back of the net, enabling Al-Nassr to hold firm and secure their qualification for the next stage of the competition, per ESPN.
Qualified teams after penultimate round of games
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1. Al Ain (United Arab Emirates) - Group A
2. Al Nassr (Saudi Arabia) - Group E
3. Kawasaki Frontale (Japan) - Group I
4. Pohang Steelers (South Korea) - Group J
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Ronaldo commends teammates after qualification
Sports Brief also reported on Cristiano Ronaldo commending his teammates following Al-Nassr's qualification to the round of 16 in the 2023-24 AFC Champions League campaign.
After the game, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus star expressed his appreciation for his teammates' efforts on social media, acknowledging their commendable performance.