Al Nassr Coach Appears to Blame Cristiano Ronaldo’s Teammates After Champions League Elimination

Al Nassr Coach Appears to Blame Cristiano Ronaldo’s Teammates After Champions League Elimination

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
March 12, 2024 at 7:15 AM
In this article:
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
Al Nassr FC logo
Al Nassr
Saudi Arabia
Al-Ain FC logo
Al-Ain FC
United Arab Emirates
AFC Champions League logo
  • Al-Nassr bowed out of the AFC Champions League
  • The Knights of Najd lost 3-1 on penalty shootouts
  • Ronaldo and his teammates wasted good chances

Al-Nassr manager, Luis Castro, seemed to deflect responsibility for his team's elimination from the AFC Champions League onto Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates.

Despite a valiant effort in the second leg, the Knights of Najd were ultimately ousted from Asia's top club competition on Monday evening.

Luis Castro, Cristiano Ronaldo, teammates, Al-Nassr, Al Ain, AFC Champions League, exit.
Luis Castro appeared to turn the spotlight on his players' poor penalty display after their Champions League exit. Photos by Gualter Fatia and Yasser Bakhsh.
Source: Getty Images

Starting behind by a single goal from the first leg, Castro's team faced adversity early in their comeback bid, conceding two goals in the first half. Soufiane Rahimi of Morocco proved instrumental, contributing to all three goals across both legs.

However, Abdulrahman Ghareeb's goal just before halftime injected hope into the Riyadh-based side.

In the second half, they rallied, benefiting from an own goal sparked by Otavio and a crucial freekick from Alex Telles, forcing the match into extra time.

Yet, familiar woes haunted Al-Nassr as they conceded a soft goal, with goalkeeper Raghed Al Najjar making a costly mistake.

Despite Ronaldo's late penalty keeping their hopes alive, the 2023 Arab Cup champions faltered in the ensuing penalty shootout, allowing the Emirati club to advance to the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory, GOAL reports.

Al-Nassr boss blames Ronaldo and co.

After the match, Coach Castro deflected questions about his team's poor penalty performance, instead placing the blame on his players.

“We trained on penalty kicks, and the players bear responsibility for executing them,” the Portuguese tactician said at the post-match presser as cited by The Nassr Zone.

What's next for Al-Nassr?

After crashing out of the AFC CL, the Knights of Najd would look to channel their efforts into domestic competitions, with the Saudi Kings Cup still up for grabs.

Unfortunately, their quest for a league crown looks far-fetched at this point as they trail runaway leaders Al-Hilal by a whopping 12-point margin with 11 games to end the current campaign, as cited on Sports Brief.

Fans call out Ronaldo after costly miss

Sports Brief also reported that football enthusiasts were quick to scrutinise Cristiano Ronaldo for his costly miss from close range during Al-Nassr's tightly contested AFC Champions League quarter-final encounter against Al Ain on Monday evening.

In a surprising turn of events, the 39-year-old veteran failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity, unable to convert from a mere three yards out.

This uncharacteristic blunder by the typically dependable CR7 left fans perplexed and disheartened, underscoring the unpredictable dynamics of football.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.