Connect with us


Odion Ighalo upstages Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia



Club World Cup -Al Hilal Press Conference - Ibn Batouta Stadium, Tangier, Morocco - February 6, 2023 Al Hilal's Odion Ighalo during press conference REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

Cristiano Ronaldo was upstaged by another former Manchester United forward in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday as Al-Hilal’s Odion Ighalo scored twice from the penalty spot in a 2-0 win over Al-Nassr.

Portugal striker Ronaldo moved to Al-Nassr on a lucrative deal last January and scored eight goals in his first five games but he has been unable to sustain that pace.

In Al-Nassr’s first game since the departure of coach Rudi Garcia, Ronaldo drew a blank while Ighalo, who had a loan spell at Manchester United in 2020, scored twice to hand Asian champions Al-Hilal the win.

Ronaldo was yellow carded in the 57th minute after he tangled with Gustavo Cuellar and things only got worse from there.

The 38-year-old had a goal disallowed for offside in the 77th minute and after he was awarded a penalty six minutes later the Video Assistant Referee reversed the decision.


Ronaldo was later taunted as he left the field with Al-Hilal fans waving Lionel Messi shirts.

Al-Nassr interim coach Dinko Jelicic told reporters the game changed when they conceded the first spot kick.

“The first penalty kick broke us, it was influential in the course of the match,” he said.

“Al-Hilal were better than us in some periods. My team showed good glimpses and could pave the way for the next weeks.”

Al-Nassr are three points behind leaders Al-Ittihad, who have played a game less.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.