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Ronaldo's 2024 debut goal seals Al Nassr victory in AFC Champions League

Photo: X/AlNassr FC

Cristiano Ronaldo made a significant impact by scoring his first goal of 2024, securing a crucial 1-0 victory for Al-Nassr over fellow Saudi Arabian club Al-Fayha in the AFC Champions League's round of 16. The decisive goal came in the 81st minute when Ronaldo executed a skillful one-two with Marcelo Brozovic, who elegantly lifted the return pass over the Al-Fayha defense. Ronaldo, displaying his trademark finesse, latched onto the ball and executed a lob with a first-time shot, beating the goalkeeper.

Notably, this goal extends Ronaldo's remarkable streak of scoring in 23 consecutive calendar years, dating back to 2002. Al-Nassr, seeking its first continental title, will play the second leg next Wednesday, looking to capitalize on the advantage gained in the first leg.

Saudi Arabia boasts four teams in the knockout round, with Al-Hilal set to face Sepahan in Iran, and Al-Ittihad meeting Navbahor of Uzbekistan. In another fixture on Wednesday, Al-Ain from the United Arab Emirates played to a 0-0 draw against Nasaf Qarshi from Uzbekistan.

In the eastern zone, Thailand's Bangkok United staged a dramatic comeback from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Japan's Yokohama F. Marinos. Yokohama took the lead with goals from Elber and Kota Watanabe, but Bangkok responded strongly, with Nitipong Selanon reducing the deficit. The comeback was completed in injury time when Palestinian international Mahmoud Eid leveled the score.

In an all-South Korean clash, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors defeated Pohang Steelers 2-0, with goals from Hernandes and Ahn Hyeon-beom in each half. The AFC Champions League continues to showcase intense competition and unexpected twists as teams vie for supremacy in the prestigious tournament.

Feb. 15, 2024 1:41 p.m. 2601

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