Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed a winning debut in the Asian Champions League as he played part in Al Nassr 2-0 victory against 10-man Persepolis in Iran on Tuesday night.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has five UEFA Champions League titles to his name, captained the Saudi Arabian side to an opening three points in Group E.
The match at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran was played without fans after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) upheld a one-game ban for Persepolis supporters dating back to 2021, AFP reported.
Nassr grabbed both goals in the second half against the two-time runners-up, through a Danial Esmaeilifar own goal and a fine strike by defender Mohammed Qassem.
It marked the first time a Saudi club played in Iran since 2016, after the AFC announced a “ground-breaking agreement” earlier this month between the two countries' federations.
Iran and Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties seven years ago, meaning Asian Champions League matches had been since played at neutral grounds.
Ronaldo, 38, was heavily involved throughout, twice going close in the first half.
His initial chance - a powerful, close-range header - was sent straight at Persepolis goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand which left Ronaldo beating the post in frustration.
Nassr’s hopes grew considerably at the beginning of the second half, when Persepolis midfielder Milad Sarlak was given a second yellow card, this time for appearing to stamp on Ronaldo’s boot.
Replays showed it was unintentional, the contact minimal.
Ronaldo played a key role in Nassr's opener just after the hour, the Portuguese instigating the move that led to Abdulrahman Ghareeb’s blocked shot cannoning off Persepolis full-back Esmaeilifar and nestling in the net.
Ten minutes later, Nassr left-back Mohammed Qassem broke down the left and thumped his shot high past Beiranvand to double the visitors’ advantage and secure the points.