Al Nassr vs Istiklol score, result and highlights as Cristiano Ronaldo scores in AFC Champions League win

Cristiano Ronaldo inspired an Al Nassr comeback as they maintained their perfect start to this season’s AFC Champions League with a 3-1 win over Istiklol.

The Saudi Pro League side were stunned in the first half when Senin Sebal opened the scoring, his shot squirming under Al Nassr goalkeeper Nawaf Al-Aqidi to give the team from Tajikistan the lead against the run of play.

It was turning into a difficult night for Luis Castro’s men, until Ronaldo’s delicate chip just after the hour to level the scores – following the superstar striker’s attempt to whip up the home crowd, encouraging them to raise the decibel level at the King Saud University Stadium.

It was Ronaldo’s first goal in the AFC Champions League and it’s hard to see it being his last, given his talismanic role for his team.

With Otavio and Sadio Mane rested, Abdulrahman Ghareeb starred on the left flank for the hosts, but it was Anderson Talisca who netted with two fine finishes to give Al Nassr all three points. That ensured there was no further worry for Ronaldo, Castro or the home supporters.

The Sporting News provided live updates from the match and you can see how they unfolded below.

MORE: Tracking how many goals Cristiano Ronaldo has scored for Al Nassr this season

Al Nassr vs Istiklol result, final score

  Goals Goalscorers
Al Nassr 3 Ronaldo, Talisca x 2
Istiklol 1 Sebai

Starting lineups:

Al Nassr: Al-Aqidi (GK) — Qasem, Lajami, Laporte, Ghareeb — Al Khaibari, Brozovic, Fofana — Talisca, Ghareeb, Ronaldo

Istiklol: Yatimov (GK) — R. Dzhalilov, Kartashyan, Gogoua, Novoselec, Davlatmir — A. Dzhalilov, Beganovic, Panjshanbe — Sebai, Kamolov

Al Nassr vs Istiklol live updates, highlights, and commentary

FULL TIME: Al Nassr 3-1 Istiklol

The final whistle goes and once again the headlines will be all about that man Cristiano Ronaldo. After Al Nassr were stunned by a first half goal from Senin Sebal, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid man inspired the comeback, scoring a delightful chip to level the scores.

Anderson Talisca then scored an excellent brace, with two smart finishes, to ensure Al Nassr made it two wins from two in the AFC Champions League. Job done – but it wasn’t a walk in the park.

90 mins + 5: Al Nassr are happy to just play keep-ball at the end of this one… well most of them are. Ronaldo wants another goal I think.

90 mins + 3: Ghareeb is hunting a goal, you’d say his performance tonight deserves one, but he’s flagged offside at the crucial moment. Ronaldo is now wearing a beaming smile, his whipping-up-the-crowd act certainly did the job in inspiring Al Nassr tonight.

90 mins: We’re now into eight minutes of added time as Ronaldo is just denied by the slightest of deflections.

88 mins: Fofana takes a wild old swipe at it from distance and that’s not troubling the goal… not that the celebrating home fans care too much. They know the points are safe and it’s going to be two from two for Al Nassr in this season’s AFC Champions League.

86 mins: Al-Aqidi goes some of the way to redeeming himself for his first-half error, making a smart sprawling stop from the visitors’ sub Sulaymonov to keep the scoreline at 3-1. Talisca, meanwhile, has been replaced by Al-Ghannam on the right wing.

83 mins: Brozovic is taken off after an excellent shift in midfield, replaced by Ali Al-Hassan.

81 mins: It’s still very noisy, as Al Nassr chase a fourth goal and complete comfort in this match.

80 mins: Do Istiklol have anything left in the tank for this final 10 minutes or so? They’ve been completely blown away in the second half. Dzhalilov tries his luck from 40 yards or more.

GOAL! Al Nassr 3-1 Istiklol (Talisca, 77) – Anderson Talisca at the double and this is a really superb goal. Brilliant feet from Ghareeb to set it up, he then rolls it back with his heel to the onrushing Brazilian who finishes expertly with his left foot. Game over, surely.

76 mins: Superb interplay down the left flank from Al Nassr, with Ghareeb and Ayman both involved, but Ronaldo can only head over the bar this time.

75 mins: You have to think this could be 4-1 or 5-1 now, given the visitors’ lack of previous threat in attack… although as I type that Panjshanbe forces a save from Al-Aqidi and Istiklol don’t look completely out of this yet.

GOAL! Al Nassr 2-1 Istiklol (Talisca, 72) – Anderson Talisca clinches the lead for the Saudi side! Another kindish bounce of the ball but a clinical header that made it impossible for Yatimov to keep out. The tables have turned.

71 mins: Cristiano Ronaldo doing Cristiano Ronaldo things…

70 mins: Ghareeb actually missed a pretty decent chance for a very quick second, but dragged his left-footed effort wide. Now the Tajik side’s resistance has been broken, it could all start to fall into place for Al Nassr.

68 mins: There was a brief moment of concern for Al Nassr as VAR intervened to check a possible offside, but the goal stands – and the stadium is rocking now!

GOAL! Al Nassr 1-1 Istiklol (Ronaldo, 66) – He gets his goal! A lovely dinked finish over the goalkeeper after his initial effort was well blocked, but fell back quite kindly. The equaliser has arrived and it had to be Ronaldo!

65 mins: A huge increase in the volume level at the King Saud University Stadium now! Ronaldo has whipped up the crowd, he wants more from them.

64 mins: A heavy touch in the box from Ronaldo proves costly as he desperately tries to link up with Fofana and Talisca. He then hammers wide with his left foot from around 25 yards. It’s not happening for the Portuguese superstar (so far).

61 mins: There are howls from the crowd for a penalty after sub Ayman sees his cross hit an arm, or maybe a body – nothing is given either way – before the canny striker Sebai wins the visitors a free-kick.

60 mins: Ronaldo with another header at goal, latching onto Laporte’s cross from deep, but he can only direct it wide of the near post.

58 mins: Castro has made his first substitution of the night.

57 mins: Istiklol’s first corner of the game doesn’t bring much, other than to drag bodies forward and invite Al Nassr to counter into space afterwards. Ghareeb can’t keep it in.

55 mins: The hosts have a brief scare when it’s knocked back towards Al-Aqidi and he’s left scurrying towards his own line, trying to prevent a corner, and can’t. Luis Castro looks agitated in the dugout.

53 mins: To say Al Nassr are now knocking on the door would be an understatement. Brozovic is pulling the strings from deep and they work a headed chance for Talisca, which Yatimov saves with his feet, before Ghareeb skews his effort from a tight angle.

50 mins: Ronaldo volleys speculatively over the crossbar from a very unlikely scoring position. He looks frustrated.

49 mins: Ghareeb has blown hot and cold, showing some real moments of skill on the ball, but he’s spurned a couple of big chances. Al Nassr have another corner.

47 mins: The short answer to that question at the moment, was no. Istiklol started the second half brightly and boldly, clearly believing they can get another goal… but it opens up for Al Nassr on the break and it’s worked well down the right and slides all the way across to Ghareeb who somehow slots it wide. Another big chance gone.

SECOND HALF: Here we go again. Can things get better for Al Nassr?

HT: There’s a lot of Ronaldo bashing going on in the comments below this tweet. In truth, the striker has had a poor half – he’s squandered a couple of big chances – but Al Nassr have been let down by their goalkeeper Nawaf Al-Aqidi and a rare defensive lapse.

HALF TIME: The half ends with a flurry of Al Nassr chances, one of them a header from Talisca that was superbly saved one-handed by the impressive Yatimov.

The crowd aren’t happy, but their side are going into the break trailing by a goal. Baffling, really, but work for Ronaldo and company to do in the second half.

45 mins + 5: There was a bit of a flare-up between the players after one of those corners, with Laporte going down seemingly in anguish. Seemed to be something of nothing.

45 mins +3: A good parry from Yatimov keeps out the long shot, as Talisca appeals stringently for a handball and penalty. Istiklol living a bit dangerously. Another corner comes in and it’s headed behind for yet another.

45 mins: Into six minutes of first half added time. Not quite sure where that’s come from, but it will encourage Al Nassr, who frankly cannot believe they are behind.

GOAL! Al Nassr 0-1 Istiklol (Sebai, 44) – Out of absolutely nothing! That’s the first chance the visitors have had and it’s brought the goal for Sebai, whose shot somehow squirms under Al-Aqidi  and into the net. The home fans are stunned into silence!

42 mins: Istiklol need to counter at a quicker pace when they win the ball back. This time they get it cheaply from Ronaldo but strangely opt to play it back and they’re under the kosh again.

40 mins: Corner to Al Nassr. They’ve not had too many set piece openings, but this one should have brought the goal. Yatimov saves at close range from Ronaldo after a good headed knockdown from Fofana at the back post. Istiklol survive again.

36 mins: It’s worked nicely into the box but that’s a tame attempted finish by Ronaldo, who is kicking himself. It was unselfishly laid off to him by Talisca but it goes wide.

35 mins: Below is as close as Al Nassr have come, for all their domination of possession and territory.

32 mins: Ronaldo pops up on the left flank and plays a superb pinpoint pass crossfield to Anderson Talisca, who twists and turns but can only find the keeper Yatimov with his near-post effort.

30 mins: Al Nassr have had almost 90 per cent possession in this match… the current figures say 86 per cent and that’s only rising. Amid the passing, Ghareeb thunders a shot at goal from 30 yards, which smacks off the post!

27 mins: Another semi-chance for Ronaldo as a good pass is played over the top, but he gets himself in a muddle, neither shooting or heading and the ball goes out.

25 mins: You have to say the team from Tajikistan are acquitting themselves very well at this stage, defensively at least. Ronaldo has a half chance from a header but he’s never in control of it and it’s nodded well over.

23 mins: Ghareeb wants a handball after his cut-back from the left hits Novoselec and the referee is consulting VAR… nothing doing. It would have been very harsh.

20 mins: Some good noise being made by the Al Nassr fans tonight, as their side seeks an opening. Ghareeb is looking lively on the left wing.

18 mins: Virtually non-stop one-way traffic in Al Nassr’s favour at the moment, without a major chance presenting itself… suspect Istiklol would be delighted with a 0-0 draw if it was offered right now.

15 mins: Looks like Istiklol have been forced into a defensive substitution, with Gogoua going off injured and replaced by Kurbonov. His first action in the game is a diving header to stop some service into Ronaldo.

13 mins: Al Nassr are winning the midfield battle at the moment, for sure. As well as the composure of Brozovic and Laporte on the ball in deep areas, the physicality of Al Khaibari and Fofana is helping them. They just need to get Ronaldo in the game a little more. He’s being well marked.

9 mins: Already, Al Nassr have put in a considerable number of crosses, which are testing the visitors’ back line. Gogoua clears one from the right, before going down with a knock, which may have come from his earlier challenge on Talisca.

7 mins: Fofana nearly ghosts in at the back post after a hopeful Al Nassr cross from the left, but it evades everyone.

5 mins: Ronaldo with the nutmeg! The home crowd loved that, albeit it didn’t lead to a clearcut chance. Fofana is looking tidy on the ball in these early stages, too.

3 mins: No surprise to see the yellow and blue strips of Al Nassr dominating possession in the early stages of this one. Istiklol are in red and black and looking to play on the counter when they can, targeting the pace of Senin Sebai up top.

KICK OFF: We’re under way! Let’s do this.

10 mins before KO: Kick-off now fast approaching at at the King Saud University Stadium. Stay tuned.

20 mins before KO: A reminder that Ronaldo hasn’t yet scored a goal in the AFC Champions League. Expectations are high for the five-time Ballon D’Or winner tonight, for sure.

45 mins before KO: Both lineups are in and confirmed and here they are in full, with the headline news being that Otavio and Sadio Mane are rested completely from the Al Nassr squad, with Seko Fofana coming into the midfield. Cristiano Ronaldo starts, as expected.

  • Al Nassr: Al-Aqidi (GK) — Qasem, Lajami, Laporte, Ghareeb — Al Khaibari, Brozovic, Fofana — Talisca, Ghareeb, Ronaldo
  • Istiklol: Yatimov (GK) — Davlatmir, Kartashyan, Gogoua, Novoselec, — A. Dzhalilov, R. Dzhalilov, Beganovic, Panjshanbe — Sebai, Kamolov

55 mins before KO: The Istiklol team is in. We’ll have the Al Nassr official lineup shortly, too.

1 hr, 15 mins before KO: As always with Al Nassr games (and for every team he turns out for these days), the headline act is Cristiano Ronaldo tonight. His 87th minute penalty secured his side a win at the weekend and you just know he’ll be gunning for more goals tonight.

That’s provided, of course, that he’s in the starting lineup, with official team news to drop fairly soon.

1 hr, 30 mins before KO: This is the first time these two teams have ever met and also marks Al Nassr facing a Tajikistani opponent for the first time in history, too. Istiklol have just two wins in their six games against Saudi teams in this competition, losing home and away to Al Hilal last season – when they were dumped out at the group stage.

2 hrs before KO: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ live blog of tonight’s AFC Champions League encounter. Al Nassr are one of four Saudi teams in the group stage of the tournament and are being backed by many to go all the way. They’ll need a win in this home game to maintain that reputation, with Ronaldo and Sadio Mane likely to shoulder responsibility and provide the necessary goals.

What time does Al Nassr vs Istiklol kick off?

This AFC Champions League clash takes place at Al-Awwal Park in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and kicks off on Monday, October 2 at 9 p.m. local time.

Here’s how that time translates across some of the major territories:

  Date Kickoff time
USA Mon Oct. 2 2:00 p.m. ET
Canada Mon Oct. 2 2:00 p.m. ET
UK Mon Oct. 2 7:00 p.m. BST
Australia Tue Oct. 3 5:00 a.m. AEST
India Mon Oct. 2 11:30 p.m. IST
Hong Kong Tue Oct. 3 2:00 a.m. HKT
Malaysia Tue Oct. 3 2:00 a.m. MYT
Singapore Tue Oct. 3 2:00 a.m. SGT
New Zealand Tue Oct. 3 7:00 a.m. NZDT

MORE: AFC Champions League 2023/24: Fixtures, results, schedule, teams, prize money

Al Nassr vs Istiklol live stream, TV channel

Here’s how to watch the AFC Champions League group match in selected areas of the world’s major regions:

Region TV Streaming
USA Paramount+

UK bet365
Australia Paramount+
India FanCode
Hong Kong
Malaysia Astro SuperSport 2 Astro Go, sooka
New Zealand

UK: The AFC Champions League does not have a broadcast deal in the United Kingdom. Those with an account with bet365 will be able to stream the match via the bookmaker’s website or app.

USA:  This game is available to stream on Paramount+.

Australia: Paramount+ also has the rights to all Ronaldo’s AFC Champions League outings in Australia.

India: Streaming platform FanCode will show the match in India.

MORE: How to watch Saudi Pro League in USA | How to watch in UK

Al Nassr vs Istiklol lineups, team news

Summer signing Seko Fofana has earned a spot in midfield after returning from injury with a pair of substitute appearances. Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina (elbow) remains a long-term absentee. Sadio Mane and Otavio are rested.

Al Nassr confirmed lineup (4-3-3, right to left): Al-Aqidi (GK) — Qasem, Lajami, Laporte, Ghareeb — Al Khaibari, Brozovic, Fofana — Talisca, Ghareeb, Ronaldo

Striker Manuchekhr Dzhalilov remains a key injury absence for Istiklol. Senin Sebai and Amadoni Kamolov start in attack in his absence. 

Istiklol confirmed lineup (5-3-2): Yatimov (GK) — R. Dzhalilov, Kartashyan, Gogoua, Novoselec, Davlatmir — A. Dzhalilov, Beganovic, Panjshanbe — Sebai, Kamolov

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