Ronaldo surpasses 500 league goal mark as he puts four past Al Wehda

By Sports Desk February 09, 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo hit yet another milestone as he scored the 500th league goal of his remarkable career in Al Nassr's 4-0 victory over Al Wehda.

The Portugal captain, who joined Rudi Garcia's side on a free transfer after his acrimonious Manchester United departure, netted all four goals as his new club moved top of the Saudi Pro League on goal difference.

Fresh from opening his account for Al Nassr in their 2-2 draw with Al Fateh last time out, Ronaldo's milestone strike came in the 21st minute when he drilled a low shot past Abdulquddus Atiah.

He added a second to double the visitors' lead five minutes before half-time, latching onto a neat throughball before slotting home.

The former Real Madrid and Juventus forward completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute, before getting his fourth and rounding off a commanding victory just after the hour mark.

Ronaldo and Al Nassr are back in action a week on Friday, when they welcome to Al Taawoun to King Saud University Stadium.

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    Despite losing three of their last four MLS games – winning the other 5-1 at home to CF Montreal – Toronto sit sixth in the Eastern Conference on 22 points with a very balanced record.

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    After conceding late in their 4-3 loss to Cincinnati, Herdman says his team need to put more work into their defensive side of the game.

    "It's that level of concentration, that level of discipline that championship teams are able to bring to games," Herdman said.

    "Knowing your job and delivering your job in high-pressure moments where you stay concentrated for long periods of time, that was the message [this week].

    "I think collectively as a group they recognized it. And they welcomed it. They know we're growing. They know we’re on a bit of a journey."

    Philadelphia are four points off a final series place in eighth with 18 points and are unbeaten in their last two matches after failing to win any of the previous six.

    Asked about the test his side will face against Toronto, the Union head coach Jim Curtin said they are a "much-improved team.

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Philadelphia Union – Daniel Gazdag

    Gazdag has been involved in eight goals (four goals, four assists) in three home matches against Toronto FC, recording multiple goal contributions in each match.

    Toronto FC – Lorenzo Insigne

    After recording two assists against Montreal last week, Insigne had a goal and an assist on Saturday, the second player, along with Federico Bernardeschi, to contribute to multiple goals in consecutive matches for Toronto this season.

    MATCH PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA UNION WIN

    The Union have won each of their last four home matches against Toronto by a combined score of 16-2. Philadelphia had won just four of their first 11 home matches against the Reds (D3 L4).

    However, the Union have lost four consecutive home matches for the first time in club history. Philadelphia had suffered three defeats in their previous 59 matches at Subaru Park before this run.

    Meanwhile, Toronto nearly drew with FC Cincinnati on Saturday, losing 4-3 to a goal in the third minute of stoppage time. Toronto have drawn only one of their last 36 matches in all competitions dating back to last June (W11 L24).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Philadelphia Union – 67.7%

    Draw – 18.9%

    Toronto FC – 13.4%

  • Mitrovic clinches last-gasp success for Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal Mitrovic clinches last-gasp success for Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal

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    Jorge Jesus' side finished the league campaign unbeaten across the 34-game season, though needed late heroics from top scorer Mitrovic to snatch all three points.

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    The Serbia international ranks only behind Cristiano Ronaldo in this campaign's scoring charts, after the Al-Nassr forward claimed a piece of Saudi League history in a 4-2 victory over Al-Ittihad.

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    Al-Akhoud beat the drop after overcoming Al-Tai, who went down with Abha and Al-Hazem, 2-0 thanks to goals from Saviour Godwin and Leandre Tawamba at Prince Abdul Aziz bin Musa'ed Stadium.

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    The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was on target in either half at Al Awal Park, moving to 35 goals across the 2023-24 league campaign in Saudi Arabia.

    Ronaldo opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time after receiving a long ball from Mohammed Al-Fatil, before doubling his tally – and Al-Nassr's lead – with a header from Marcelo Brozovic's corner.

    That second finish after Suwailem Al Manhali was dismissed for the visitors saw Ronaldo eclipse Abderrazak Hamdallah's 34-goal tally – in the 2018-19 season – for the most strikes in a single campaign.

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    Data Debrief: Al-Nassr dominance pays off

    Much will be made of the record-breaking Ronaldo, who has scored 50 goals in as many games across all competitions this season.

    Yet Al-Nassr were dominant from the off in this one, mustering nine shots on target to Al-Ittihad's three, while accumulating 2.73 expected goals (xG) – far superior to the visitors' 1.43 xG.

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