Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr suffers Saudi Cup semi-final defeat

Cristiano Ronaldo sees red! Veteran raises his FIST towards the referee after being sent off for appearing to elbow and stamp on his opponent during Al-Nassr’s Saudi Cup semi-final defeat

Cristiano Ronaldo’s temper got the better of him during Al-Nassr’s Saudi Cup defeat against Al-Hilal, resulting in his red card and subsequent fist-raising towards the referee. The incident occurred in the dying moments of the semi-final, with Al-Nassr trailing 2-0. Ronaldo clashed with Al-Hilal’s Ali Al-Bulaihi near the touchline, as he tried to prevent the Portuguese superstar from grabbing the ball to take a quick throw-in. The two players squared up, and Ronaldo appeared to throw an elbow in the direction of Al-Bulaihi, sending him crashing to the floor.

Footage then appeared to show Ronaldo stamping on an already downed Al-Bulaihi, but the advertising boards obstructed the view, making it unclear whether Ronaldo made contact with the player. The incident sparked a melee of pushing and shoving between the players, with the opposition unhappy at the challenge.

Referee Mohammed Al-Hoaish brandished a straight red card to Ronaldo for violent conduct, and footage then appeared to show Ronaldo raising his fist towards the referee after his red card. The incident sparked a brawl between the two Saudi rival teams, with former Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly rushing to the aid of his team-mate before being pushed, with Al-Nassr and former Man City defender Aymeric Laporte trying to act as peacemaker in the dramatic late scenes.

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Ronaldo watched on as the two sets of players pushed and shoved each other but withdrew his action of motioning as if he wanted to throw a punch – or perhaps punch the ball he was holding – in the referee’s direction. Having already landed himself in hot water, Ronaldo then sarcastically patted one match official on the shoulder after being shown the straight red.

As he was leaving the pitch, Ronaldo appeared to tell the crowd ‘all of you are witnessing this robbery’. It was an extremely controversial ending to a frustrating night for both club and player as they were eliminated from the competition by the Saudi Pro League leaders.

Earlier in the night, Ronaldo had already clashed with the ref after Al-Nassr had a goal disallowed with the game still goalless. Otavio thought he had given his side the lead, but it was chalked off after Ronaldo had failed to make contact with the ball, and Otavio was deemed to be in an offside position when he put the ball into the net. The Portuguese icon was shown a yellow card for his protesting over the disallowed goal, setting the wheels in motion for tempers to boil over later in the game.

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Salem Aldawsari and Malcom secured the win with two second-half goals to proceed to the next round of the Saudi Super Cup, with Sadio Mane adding a late consolation deep into injury time for 10-man Al-Nassr.

This is not the first time Ronaldo has made headlines for all the wrong reasons in Saudi football this season. The former Manchester United star was suspended for one match by Saudi football chiefs after he appeared to make an obscene gesture during Al-Nassr’s win over Al Shabab in February.

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