"Pray for Al-Ahli", "Challenge this team to keep clean sheet" - Fans react as Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr take on Al-Ahli in SPL fixture

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line for Al-Nassr vs Al-Ahli.
Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line for Al-Nassr vs Al-Ahli.

Fans hope to see Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr bounce back from their AFC Champions League elimination when they face Al-Ahli tonight (March 15).

Al-Alami made a shock exit from Asia's elite club competition on Monday (March 11). They lost 3-1 on penalties after a remarkable 4-4 draw on aggregate against UAE outfit Al-Ain.

Cristiano Ronaldo, 39, scored from the spot in the shootout and extra time but Luis Castro's side crashed out. They have endured a difficult spell as of late, without a win in their last four outings across competitions.

A 3-1 loss to Al-Raed and a 4-4 draw with Al-Hazm has given Al-Nassr a mountain to climb in the Saudi Pro League title race. They sit second, 12 points behind leaders Al-Hilal.

Castro has named his side that will take on Al-Ahli tonight who are just behind them in third place. They will be eager to get back to winning ways with their title aspirations in jeopardy.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina returns in goal after sitting out his side's AFC Champions League elimination.

Saudi duo Ali Lajami and Ayman Yahya are in defense alongside Aymeric Laporte and Alex Telles.

Marcelo Brozovic, who missed in the shootout loss to Al-Ain, is in midfield alongside Saudi midfielder Sami Al Naji. The latter replaces Abdullah Mohammed Al-Khaibari who was injured in the warm-up.

Otavio is selected in an advanced midfield role, with former Liverpool superstar Sadio Mane and Saudi winger Abdulrahman Ghareeb on the wings.

Cristiano Ronaldo is in attack, looking to add to his 29 goals and 11 assists in 32 games across competitions.

One fan fired a warning to Al-Nassr's opponents:

"Pray for Al-Ahli."

Another fan challenged Castro's side:

"I challenge this team to keep a clean sheet."

Here's how fans on X (formerly Twitter) reacted to Castro's team selection to face Al-Ahli:

Pep Guardiola suggested Al-Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo has transformed the Saudi Pro League

Pep Guardiola gave his take on the Saudi Pro League's transformation.
Pep Guardiola gave his take on the Saudi Pro League's transformation.

Cristiano Ronaldo will come up against Riyad Mahrez when Al-Nassr clashes with Al-Ahli. The Algerian winger joined their Saudi Pro League rivals from Manchester City last summer in a £30 million deal.

Mahrez was a massive hit at the Etihad, bagging 78 goals and 65 assists in 236 games. He won 13 major trophies with the Cityzens but opted for a change of scenery last summer.

City boss Pep Guardiola gave his take on Mahrez's move to Al-Ahli and insisted many didn't expect high-profile names to follow to Saudi. He said (via Be Soccer):

"A few months ago when Cristiano was the only one to go, no one thought this many top, top players would play in the Saudi league. In the future, there will be more and that's why clubs need to be aware of what is happening."

Mahrez has started his career in Saudi with 10 goals and nine assists in 24 games across competitions. He's reportedly earning £750,000 per week and Guardiola alluded to this:

"Riyad got an incredible offer and that's why we could not say don't do it."

Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival at Al-Nassr in January 2023 has put Saudi football on the map. Mahrez joined the likes of Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante, and Neymar in following the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to the Middle East.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett
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