Moments ago, the Knights of Najd lost the Saudi Super Cup semi-final against Al Hilal. The adversity doubled for them as Cristiano Ronaldo received a red card in the final moments of the game. While the aftermath saw the Portuguese superstar become subject to criticism, Luis Castro came to the defense of the skipper, asserting that CR7 ‘did not do anything that deserved’ the sending-off. 

In the post-match interview, the former Porto coach said, “It is difficult to talk about the incident in which Ronaldo received the red card, and we saw several clips earlier in the season in which Ronaldo was provoked, and after seeing some of the pictures, Ronaldo did not do anything that deserved to be sent off, and the opposing player acted.” It’s clear that Castro doesn’t agree with his star player being unnecessarily sent off. But what exactly happened? 


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For those who missed the whole incident, it began when Al Nassr’s only substitute for the game, Abdulrahman Ghareeb, was on the receiving end of a harsh challenge from Al Hilal’s Ali Albulayhi. As Albulayhi was retrieving the ball, Ronaldo approached from behind and attempted to take the ball from him. However, Albulayhi took offense to Ronaldo’s actions and confronted him, bringing their heads close together. In response, Ronaldo defended himself by elbowing Albulayhi, causing him to fall to the ground.

This led to a physical altercation involving other players. As tensions escalated, Al Hilal players intervened to seek justice, resulting in Ronaldo being shown the way out of the pitch by the official. While Castro remains adamant about Ronaldo’s sent-off being wrong, does he have an explanation for his poor performance?

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to leave his mark against Al Hilal


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Throughout the match, Cristiano Ronaldo wasted numerous goal-scoring opportunities. The Portuguese superstar’s struggle was evident in his missed 1v1 chance against Yassine Bounou, garnering criticism from the fans. However, this wasn’t the only mistake made by the Al Nassr skipper during the match, as he failed to capitalize on several crucial scoring opportunities.

via Reuters

Additionally, Ronaldo’s teammates expressed their disappointment with his actions. Midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, in particular, showed his frustration by throwing his hands up during a counter-attack due to Ronaldo’s failure to pass the ball effectively. While his sending-off came as a huge blow, Sadio Mane managed to deny Al Hilal winning the game with a clean sheet.


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Unfortunately, it was yet another bad day in the office for Al Nassr. Castro would be frustrated both with the result and with the suspension that Ronaldo will be facing. What did you think of this incident? Sound off in the comments below.

Written by

Abhishek Mishra


One take at a time

Abhishek Mishra is a senior Soccer Writer at EssentiallySports. His early exposure to playing soccer earned him many accolades at college divisions, making him a sports enthusiast. While closely following daily updates for over a decade, Abhishek is well-versed in European soccer and now the MLS, as well.
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Edited by

Sreeda U M