CR7 holder but defeated with his Al Nassr in the semifinal against Al Ittihad. It ends 3-1, for the Portuguese team Talisca scored
Still nothing new on the Middle Eastern front. Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t leave his mark this time either. Only in this case his evanescent performance has more weight, because his Al Nassr was eliminated from the Arab Super Cup. Al Ittihad plays from a throw-in and does it perfectly, managing to make two restarts in the first half and one in the final to achieve success. The Portuguese is the protagonist of an electrifying start, with some back-heeling and a couple of interesting ideas, and he carves out one great opportunity towards the end of the first half, when he doesn’t direct the header from a few meters away and makes a good impression to the opposing goalkeeper. Then nothing else. The appointment with the 35th trophy of his career is therefore postponed: on Sunday Nuno Espirito Santo’s team will play for the cup against Al Fayha, who instead defeated Al Hilal in the other semi-final of the competition.
The setting is the one we have come to know with the Italian and Spanish Super Cups, the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, clearly sold out with 65,000 spectators who color the venue. For the match, a foreign referee trio was called, with the Dutchman Makkelie directing the match. Rudi Garcia and Espirito Santo field formations with the same formation, the 4-2-3-1. In Al Ittihad two old acquaintances of Italian football: Hegazy, also known as the “Nesta of Egypt” with three appearances at the time of Fiorentina, and the former Palermo player Igor Coronado. Garcia still chooses Talisca and Pity Martinez to support Cristiano Ronaldo, directed by Luiz Gustavo.
CR7 seems inspired at the start, he ranges a lot both lowering himself and spreading out to play the ball and be involved in the maneuver. Just when Al Nassr gained territorial dominance, Al Ittihad took the lead with Romarinho who finished in the center of the box in the quarter of an hour after a good triangulation between Hawsawi and Hamdallah on the left. The progress of the match was static, Rudi Garcia’s team took possession but without making themselves too dangerous. In the 43rd minute Cristiano Ronaldo stands out in the area, the header is central and Grohe has a good reflex; on the reversal in front, Romarinho fishes Hamdallah perfectly in the area who breaks away and finds the far post for the double. The usual Talisca makes the final more exciting, turning Luiz Gustavo’s suggestion well with his left foot in the 67th minute. Cristiano’s flash would be needed, but apart from getting a yellow card in the recovery, it didn’t come through. Thus, with the usual counter-attack, Al Ittihad locks up the final: it is Al Shanqeeti who puts the exclamation point on Ronaldo’s first defeat in Saudi Arabia.
January 26, 2023 (change January 26, 2023 | 21:20)
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