Cristiano Ronaldo's first campaign in Saudi Arabia will come to a close without a trophy after Al-Nassr was defeated by Al-Ittihad in the league final on Saturday.
After being released from his contract by English Premier League superpower Manchester United, Ronaldo landed in Riyadh in January and had to make do with second place in the 16-team Saudi Arabian league. After Al-Nassr and Ettifaq's 1-1 draw, Jeddah's Al-Ittihad took a five-point lead with one game left and won 3-0 against Al-Feiha to win the league for the first time since 2009.
Youssef Niakate's close-range goal for Ettifaq gave Ettifaq the lead shortly before halftime as Al-Nassr prevailed in the eastern city of Dammam. After 56 minutes, a powerful strike from former Bayern Munich player Luiz Gustavo tied the score for Al-Nassr.
Since making his league debut in January, Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in 16 games, but he was unable to secure a victory this time, and Gustavo had a goal in the second half disallowed for offside with 10 minutes left.
Romarinho of Brazil scored twice for Al-Ittihad, while Ahmed Sharahili also scored once, in the third minute. The group, managed by Nuno Espirito Santo, a former manager of Wolverhampton and Tottenham, won their seventh league championship overall.
Everyone has worked really hard from the start, and I want to thank the players and the supporters for their support this season, added Santo. The early goal was crucial, and when we scored, we were more relaxed.
With a 3-0 victory against Abha, defending champion Al-Hilal rose to third position.