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For the third time this season, Al Nassr was beaten by Al Hilal. Hence, there is a big possibility that the Knights of Najd go trophyless this campaign. Coach Luis Castro’s position is expected to be under scrutiny following the disappointing loss. As a result, the Portuguese tactician was expected to go guns blazing on his players. Yet, Castro has reportedly given Cristiano Ronaldo & Co vacation after their sub-par showing.

As per reports on X, Castro has given his players a 3-day break from training. Considering that Al Nassr’s next game is on April 19, the move makes sense. Obviously, the aim would be to get Cristiano Ronaldo & squad fresh for the final stretch of the campaign. CR7 was on the bench in the previous game against Damac, as the intention was to rest the 39-year-old. However, his performance today did not bear any such benefits.

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For starters, Cristiano Ronaldo completed just 15 passes in 86 minutes. He could not create a single chance and was upset for missing a big chance himself as well. What’s worst of all was Ronaldo had a key part in Otavio’s goal being ruled out. In the build-up to the goal, CR7 was offside and this resulted in the goal being disallowed.

Besides an uncharacteristic performance, Cristiano Ronaldo was involved in a controversy as well. In the closing stages of the game, the Portuguese star received a red card. Ronaldo did not look thrilled with the decision and attempted to punch the referee! CR7’s attitude shocked many but coach Castro feels his player did not deserve a sending-off in the first place.

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Cristiano Ronaldo was ‘provoked’ per Luis Castro in the red-card incident

In the post-match interview, Al Nassr boss Luis Castro came to the defense of his captain. He 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 must be said that Castro has a point regarding the provoking.

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The incident flared up when Abdulrahman Ghareeb received a hard foul from opposition defender Ali Albulayhi. As the Al Hilal defender was collecting the ball, Cristiano Ronaldo came from behind and snatched the ball. Albulayhi was not impressed and came in close proximity with CR7. The Al Nassr captain eventually elbowed Albulayhi in an attempt to defend himself and brought the defender down. This act earned Ronaldo the 14th red card in his career. Would you describe it as an act of provocation by Albulayhi? Let us know below.

Written by

Adithya Narayanan

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Adithya is a Soccer Writer at EssentiallySports. A Liverpool fanboy, he takes pride in being alive to witness Jurgen Klopp taking the Reds to domestic and European glory. Adithya loves an in-depth soccer chat involving tactical intricacies and stats.
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Edited by

Sreeda U M