Ronaldo's Al Nassr put five past Benzema's Al Ittihad

Sadio Mane and Cristiano Ronaldo capped off a perfect Al Nassr display to earn their side a deserved 5-2 win against Al Ittihad.

The match, held at the Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Sports City to a sellout crowd, had been postponed from matchweek 17 due to Al Ittihad's involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup. The game also marked a special occasion as it was the first time that former Real Madrid teammates Ronaldo and Karim Benzema came head-to-head in the Roshn Saudi League.

The game sparked into life in the 11th minute when Ronaldo deftly guided a cross from Alex Telles into the net, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside. Shortly after, Al Nassr's Anderson Talisca unleashed a long-range shot, parried by Al Ittihad's goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf to Otavio, who was flagged offside.

Against the run of play, Al Ittihad's Abderrazak Hamdallah  opened the scoring in the 14th minute. He skilfully beat two Al Nassr defenders before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Nawaf Al Aqidi. However, Al Ittihad’s lead was short-lived. Five minutes later, Al Nassr earned a penalty due to Benzema's challenge on Ali Lajami in the box. Ronaldo confidently converted the penalty to level the score.

Ronaldo continued to threaten, with a 22nd minute strike hitting the crossbar following a pinpoint pass from Mane down the left-hand side. The game's tempo intensified, and in the 28th minute, Al Ittihad's Faisal Al Ghamdi was booked for simulation in the box, denying his team a penalty claim.

Talisca then put Al Nassr ahead in the 38th minute, masterfully controlling a cross from Telles and turning two defenders to score. Going into halftime, Al Nassr had the upper hand, creating more chances and having the higher share of possession.

The second half saw Al Ittihad equalise in the 51st minute, with Hamdallah heading in a free-kick from Igor Coronado. He nearly completed a hat-trick three minutes later, but Al Aqidi made a spectacular save to deny him.

A pivotal moment came in the 66th minute when Al Nassr were  awarded a second penalty after a VAR review of Fabinho's challenge on Otavio. Fabinho received his second yellow card, leaving Al Ittihad with ten men. Ronaldo seized the moment, scoring his second penalty and 53rd goal in the current calendar year, putting Al Nassr ahead 3-2.

Al Nassr then doubled their lead in the 75th minute through a swift counterattack. Talisca, in a display of selflessness, set up Mane to tap the ball into an open net. Mane wasn't done yet, in a repeat down the right-hand side, Otavio provided the assist for Mane to score his second and Al Nassr's fifth, capping off a dominant second-half performance.


Al Ittihad (4-2-3-1): 1. Al Muaiouf; 17. Al Sahafi; 15. Kadesh; 8. Fabinho; 12. Al Hawsawi; 7. Kante; 16. Al Ghamdi; 10. Coronado; 90. Romarinho; 99. Hamdallah; 9. Benzema. Substitutes: 88. Al Mermesh; 6. Al Farhan; 24. Al Obud; 29. Al Shamrani; 70. Camara; 77. Al Amri

Goals: Hamadallah 14, 52

Yellow: Al Ghamdi, Kante, Hamdallah, Fabinho

Red: Fabinho


Al Nassr (4-2-3-1): 44. Al Aqidi; 2. Al Ghannam; 78. Lajami; 27. Laporte; 15. Telles; 77. Brozovic; 6. Fofana; 25. Otavio; 94. Talisca; 10. Mane; 7. Ronaldo. Substitutes: 36. Najjar; 4. Al Fatil; 5. Al Amri; 8. Al Sulaiheem; 14. Al Naji; 16. Maran; 17. Al Khaibari; 24. Qasem; 29. Ghareeb

Goals: Ronaldo 19, 68, Talisca 38, Mane 76, 82

Yellow: Fofana, Telles, Laporte, Lajami