Cristiano Ronaldo's miss contributed to Al Nassr's Saudi Super Cup exit: Rudi Garcia

Portuguese star failed to open his account for the Riyadh club following another blank on debut last week

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Al Nassr manager Rudi Garcia was left to rue a Cristiano Ronaldo saved effort in his side’s Saudi Super Cup semi-final defeat to Al Ittihad on Thursday.

The Portuguese star, making his second appearance for the Saudi Pro League leaders, failed again to open his account for his new club, although he did go close towards the end of the first half in Riyadh.

With Nassr already 1-0 down, Ronaldo's powerful header was blocked by Ittihad goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe. Although, having done well to get to the cross, the former Manchester United forward really should have scored.

To make matters worse, Ittihad went 2-0 up almost immediately afterwards. They eventually saw out the match 3-1.

Post-match, Garcia said: "One of the things that changed the course of the match was Cristiano's missed opportunity in the first half.”

In what would surely cause the French manager further distress, Ronaldo appeared to be carrying an injury as he left the pitch following the defeat at King Fahd International Stadium.

The Portugal captain, 37, signed last month for Nassr in what has been reported to represent the most lucrative deal in football history. His two-and-a-half-year contract is understood to be worth more than $200 million a year.

Ronaldo’s long-awaited debut arrived last Sunday, when he captained the capital club to a 1-0 league victory against Al Ettifaq. The victory moved Nassr, nine-time Saudi champions, back to the top of the table after 14 matches played.

Anderson Talisca, scorer of the winner against Ettifaq and then Nassr’s only goal against Ittihad, said on Thursday night: "I congratulate Al Ittihad. They presented a much better first half than us, and we played a good second half, but unfortunately we were not able to adjust the result.

"It's true that we regret losing the Super Cup, but we are still the first in the league."

Updated: January 27, 2023, 11:05 AM