Al-Nassr FC kept their hopes of winning the Saudi Pro League alive with a convincing 3-1 victory over Al-Ittifaq FC on Friday, December 22, 2023. The home side scored three goals in the second half, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo Brozovic and Alex Telles finding the net. Al-Ittifaq FC pulled one back late in the game through Mohammed Al Kuwaykibi, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.
The first half was a cagey affair, with both teams struggling to create clear-cut chances. Al-Nassr had more possession and shots, but Al-Ittifaq defended well and kept the scoreline goalless. The only notable incident of the first 45 minutes was a yellow card for Moussa Dembele, who fouled Ronaldo in the 35th minute.
The second half was a different story, as Al-Nassr came out with more intensity and urgency. They broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute, when Telles scored a stunning volley from the edge of the box, after a cross from Talisca. The goal sparked Al-Nassr into life, and they doubled their lead in the 58th minute, when Brozovic slotted home a low shot from inside the area, following a pass from Ronaldo.
Al-Ittifaq tried to respond, and made a substitution in the 63rd minute, bringing on Hamdan Al Shamrani for Abdullah Ahmed Khateeb. However, they were dealt a blow in the 72nd minute, when Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot, after he was brought down by Ahmed Al-Ghamdi. The Portuguese star made no mistake from 12 yards, and celebrated his 15th goal of the season.
Al-Ittifaq did not give up, and managed to score a consolation goal in the 89th minute, when Al Kuwaykibi headed in a cross from Dembele. However, it was too late to mount a comeback, and Al-Nassr held on to secure the three points.
The result means that Al-Nassr remain in second place, four points behind leaders Al Hilal, who have a game in hand. Al-Ittifaq stay in eighth place, 10 points above the relegation zone. The next round of fixtures will see Al-Nassr face Al Shabab on December 29, while Al-Ittifaq will host Al Ahli on December 28.