Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia has blamed Al-Nassr’s Saudi Super Cup semifinal loss to Al-Ittihad partly on Cristiano Ronaldo.
The former Manchester United forward blanks again in the Super Cup defeat, missing a clear chance to turn the game around.
Garcia’s league leaders were dumped out of the competition by close rivals Al-Ittihad on January 26 with the new signing and captain Ronaldo blanking again following his goalless debut in a previous Saudi League clash.
The 37-year-old was similarly quiet on his second outing and missed a chance to score in the first half which Garcia suggested would’ve swung the tie in Al-Nassr’s favor.
“One of the things that changed the course of the match was Cristiano’s missed opportunity in the first half,” the French boss told reporters following the 3-1 loss, with Al-Ittihad having taken the lead after only 15 minutes at the King Fahd International Stadium.
A win for Al-Nassr would have moved Cristiano Ronaldo a step closer to his first trophy as an Al-Nassr player.
Now, the loss leaves him and his teammates with one less opportunity for silverware this season, although they do have another tournament to compete in come March.
Al-Nassr will tackle mid-table side Abha in the King’s Cup and are hoping to fare better than the abysmal performance against Al-Ittihad.
Speaking after the loss, Rudi Garcia congratulated the opponents for a deserved victory over his side but says it was unfortunate that his side were not able to influence the outcome of the game despite dominating proceedings.
“I congratulate Al-Ittihad. They presented a much better first half than us, and we played a good second half, but unfortunately, we were not able to adjust the result,” the coach said.
Garcia, whose side pulled a goal back in the second half through top scorer Anderson Talisca, went on to admit. “It’s true that we regret losing the Super Cup, but we are still the first in the league.”
Another major concern for Rudi Garcia was the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo failed to live up to the bidding and even had to limp off the pitch after the final whistle following a strong tackle by Al-Ittihad substitute Hamdan Al-Shamrani late in the game.
After the tackle, Cristiano Ronaldo roll his right ankle and hobbled off after the final whistle.
Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to score for Al-Nassr after penning his lucrative two-and-a-half-year deal with the Saudi Arabian club, worth £173 million per year.
After a sparkling debut in Saudi Arabian football in the exhibition game between Ryad All-Stars and PSG, Cristiano Ronaldo has not scored again in his two competitive games for Al-Nassr.
Before his Manchester United exit, Cristiano Ronaldo fell off the pegging order in Erik Ten Hag’s squad, and left the club after a furious faceoff with both the manager and the club’s hierachy.
He joined Portugal 2022 World Cup squad and was still struggling to pick form, scoring only one goal for the Selecao before their quarterfinal exit.
After what appeared to be a promising display in the exhibition game against PSG, Cristiano Ronaldo is in search of his first goal and assist for Al-Nassr, and has failed to record even a single shot on target in two competitive matches so far.
Cristiano Ronaldo Vs Al-Ittihad Highlights