Ronaldo's Al-Nassr draw with Inter Milan in Osaka friendly

AFP , Thursday 27 Jul 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo was replaced at half-time as Al-Nassr drew 1-1 with Champions League finalists Inter Milan in the second game of their pre-season tour in Japan on Thursday.

Al-Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo (R) fights for position with Inter Milan's Yann Bisseck during the friendly football match between Saudi Arabia's Al-Nassr and Italy's Inter Milan at Nagai Stadium in Osaka on July 27, 2023. Photo: AFP


Abdulrahman Ghareeb opened the scoring for Al-Nassr midway through the first half, before Davide Frattesi equalised for Inter a minute before half-time

Portugal superstar Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr from Manchester United in January, a moment that brought Saudi football to world attention.

Since then, the Public Investment Fund -- one of the world's richest sovereign wealth funds -- has continued to recruit players for Saudi clubs from Europe's biggest leagues, including France striker Karim Benzema who joined Al-Ittihad from Real Madrid.

Alex Telles followed in Ronaldo's footsteps by signing for Al-Nassr from United on Sunday, making his first start in Osaka.

The Brazilian left-back created the first clear chance in the 20th minute, but compatriot Talisca's header was saved by Inter goalkeeper Filip Stankovic.

Ronaldo then sent an ambitious effort from range wide two minutes later before Ghareeb struck in the 23rd minute, guiding home beautifully as the ball dropped to him from a chipped Talisca pass.

Lautaro Martinez and Joaquin Correa both spurned opportunities to equalise for Inter, but Frattesi made no mistake with a header from a Denzel Dumfries cross in the 44th minute.

Ronaldo was one of many to depart at the break, as both Al-Nassr manager Luis Castro and his Inter counterpart Simone Inzaghi opted to make mass substitutions.

Martinez went on to miss a couple of gilt-edged chances in the second period but neither team could break the deadlock, leaving Al-Nassr with their second draw of the week after a 0-0 against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

PSG are next up for Inter, with the European heavyweights set to meet in Tokyo next Tuesday.

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