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Al Nassr Fail To defeat FC Istiklol In Tajikistan After Benching Cristiano Ronaldo

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In an unexpected turn of events, Al Nassr faced a 1-1 draw against in Tajikistan on Tuesday, opting to rest their captain, . With the top spot in the AFC Champions League Group E already secured, Al Nassr made the strategic decision to withhold the 38-year-old Ronaldo, who had previously scored in a 3-1 victory over Istiklol in Saudi Arabia back in October.

Al Nassr vs FC Istiklol: Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo Brozovic absent

Marcelo Brozovic was also absent from Tuesday’s matchday squad, while Sadio Mane and Aymeric Laporte remained unused substitutes at the Tajikistan Central Stadium.

Despite Istiklol finishing at the bottom of Group E with no wins in six games, the Tajik champions took the lead on Tuesday when captain Alisher Dzhalilov netted with a low strike from long range.

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Al Nassr suffer opening day loss in 2-1 defeat to Al-Ettifaq

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The away side managed to equalize early in the second half, as Abdulrahman Ghareeb smashed home a rebound from six yards after his initial effort hit keeper Rustam Yatimov’s chest.

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Al Nassr Point

Al Nassr concluded the group stage with 14 points out of a possible 18, scoring 13 goals and conceding seven. The knockout stage draw is scheduled for December 21, with the round of 16 set to be played in February.

It’s worth noting that Al Nassr has already secured one trophy this season, with Ronaldo contributing six goals to the club’s victorious 2023 Arab Club Champions Cup campaign in July and August. Additionally, they have progressed to the quarter-finals of the King Cup.

However, Al Nassr’s quest for the Saudi Pro League title faced a setback with a 3-0 defeat against title rivals Al-Hilal last week, leaving them seven points behind in the standings.

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