Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr qualifies for the AFC Champions League 2023-24 Knockouts

Al Nassr secures the top spot of Group E with a 0-0 draw against Iran's Persepolis despite being down to 10-men for more than 75 minutes.

Abishek Goswami
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Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr qualifies for the AFC Champions League 2023-24 Knockouts

Ronaldo in action against Persepolis Getty Images

Al-Nassr booked their place in the knockout rounds of the AFC Champions League 2023-24 on Monday after they claimed a 0-0 draw with Iran's Persepolis despite playing most of the game with 10 men. Ali Lajami was sent off in the 17th minute for a reckless tackle on Milad Sarlak.

The point ensured Al-Nassr would finish on top of Group E despite having one group game left to play.

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Only the group winners are certain to progress to the last 16 directly. Persepolis could take one of the three runners-up spots available in the next phase if they defeat Al-Duhail in their final group game on Dec. 5.

An early penalty was awarded to Cristiano Ronaldo but it was overturned. The 38-year-old told the referee that he was not fouled and the decision was reversed after a VAR review. With ten men, the home side struggled, facing sustained pressure from Persepolis in the second half. Despite their efforts, Persepolis couldn't find the back of the net. Al-Nassr held firm and secured their qualification to the next stage of the competition. Ronaldo came close but he missed the target.

Ronaldo and his Al-Nassr team-mates will hope to continue their unbeaten run when they return to Saudi Pro League with a game against Al-Hilal on Friday. Al-Hilal are at the top of the table and four points ahead of Al-Nassr.

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Al Nassr Fc Afc Champions League Saudi Pro League Cristiano Ronaldo Football