Ronaldo nets 2nd-half hat trick in big Al Nassr win

Cristiano Ronaldo's second-half hat trick helped Al Nassr beat visiting Al Tai 5-1 in the Saudi Pro League on Saturday.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has a league-leading 26 goals for the Riyadh club he signed for in December 2022.

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Al Nassr, the nine-time champions, were 2-1 ahead at the break. Ronaldo had been almost anonymous but scored his first after 64 minutes, turning in the right side of the area to fire home a low shot after a pull-back from Senegalese star Sadio Mané.

Three minutes later, Ronaldo added his second and Al Nassr's fourth. Al Tai failed to clear and the former Real Madrid and Manchester United player was on hand to score from close range.

Cristiano Ronaldo now has 26 league goals for Al Nassr this season.

Abdulmajeed Al-Sulaihim was the provider for the third goal, crossing to the 39-year-old Ronaldo to head home at the far post for his second hat trick of the season.

With nine assists, Ronaldo has the second highest offensive contributions in league history, behind only Abderrazak Hamdallah, who recorded a total of 43 in the 2018-19 season, also for Al Nassr.

Despite Ronaldo's exploits, Al Nassr remained second in the league, 12 points behind Riyadh rivals Al Hilal with nine rounds remaining.

Al Hilal came from behind to defeat Al Shabab 4-3. After Musab Al-Juwayr gave Al Shabab a third-minute lead, Mitrovic scored twice to put Al Hilal ahead before the break.

Former Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Asian player of the year Salem Al-Dawsari also scored as Al Hilal won an 18th consecutive league game to stay on course for a record 19th league title.