Ronaldo Coutinho splitGetty Images

Who needs Cristiano Ronaldo?! Al-Nassr continue 100% start to AFC Champions League group stages against Al-Duhail despite missing star player and Philippe Coutinho brace

  • Al-Nassr secure 3-2 win over Al-Duhail
  • Talisca hat-trick and Coutinho brace
  • Continue perfect start to AFC CL

WHAT HAPPENED? The Portugal star declared himself out of the AFC Champions League clash, and it looked like the Saudi Pro League side were going to suffer for it. Philippe Coutinho opened up his account in the continental tournament after just eight minutes. But Al-Nassr responded brilliantly in Ronaldo's absence, with a quickfire brace from Anderson Talisca turning the game on its head before the break.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: And things went from bad to worse for Coutinho and the Qatari side in the second period. Talisca rounded out his hat-trick shortly after the hour mark, latching onto Abdulrahman Ghareeb's pass for his second assist of the game. The match soon became a one-for-one battle between Talisca and his fellow countryman, as Coutinho converted an 80th-minute penalty to put the pressure on the away side. But Al-Nassr held out for all three points, leaving them top of Group E with four wins from four group games.


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Nassr Duhail Talisca Philippe Coutinho 2023-2024GOAL AR / Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR AL-NASSR? The Saudi outfit will hope to have their mercurial Portuguese forward when they return to domestic action on Saturday away to Al-Wehda.