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Monday, February 6, 2023

Ronaldo and Messi Renew Rivalry as 10-Man PSG Claims Victory Over Riyadh Season Team in Exhibition Match

Hugo Ekitike scored the game-winning goal for 10-man Paris Saint-Germain in their 5-4 victory against the Riyadh Season Team on Thursday. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both scored in the exhibition match, taking fans back in time to the prime of their legendary rivalry.

Messi and Marquinhos scored goals, but they were canceled out by a brace scored by Ronaldo during the first half of the match at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh. Additionally, PSG’s Juan Bernat was sent off for a lunging tackle on Saudi international Salem Al-Dawsari, which resulted in Al-Dawsari receiving a red card.

In the second half, both sides continued to put pressure on the opposing defense, but it was Ekitike’s goal in the 78th minute that proved to be the game-winner.

The head coach of PSG, Christophe Galtier, had this to say about the venue: “We watched many goals in a wonderful stadium with a great atmosphere.”

“This evening, we played at a stadium that was filled with a lot of enthusiastic fans. I thought it was great how they paid tribute to all of the stars who were competing on the field.

PSG got off to a scorching start in the match, jumping into the lead due to a precise finish from Messi in the third minute to give themselves an early advantage.

The Riyadh Season Team, which was a combined Saudi Pro League XI including players from Al Nassr and Al Hilal, had multiple opportunities despite falling early in the match.

Ronaldo was a constant danger to the opposition and was awarded a penalty after Keylor Navas, the goalie, collided with him. After the incident, he pulled himself up and calmly converted the penalty kick, despite the vivid red bruise that appeared on his face as a consequence of the impact.

PSG did well to recover after being a man down, scoring via defender Marquinhos. Bernat was issued a red card immediately after the equalizer was scored, though.

Their advantage did not last long, as Ronaldo once again leveled the score just before halftime by pounding home a rebound after Sergio Ramos failed to clear an easy ball. This time, Ronaldo capitalized on Sergio Ramos’s error in clearing an easy ball.

After the halftime break, the scoring kept coming thick and fast as Ramos finished off a Kylian Mbappe pass and South Korean Jang Hyun-soo tied the game with a near-post header from a corner kick to make it 3-3.

Mbappe subsequently made the most of his opportunity to score by converting a penalty, but he was soon substituted off along with colleagues Messi and Neymar, as well as Ronaldo.

Ekitike then increased PSG’s advantage to 5-3 with a powerful finish after a lung-busting run from the halfway line. Anderson Talisca then scored a late consolation goal for the Saudis in additional time. The final score was 5-3 in favor of PSG.

Even though he was unable to get his new chapter in Saudi Arabia off to a winning start, Ronaldo, now 37 years old, will take heart from his performance as he prepares to make his first competitive appearance for Al Nassr when they host Al Ettifaq on Sunday. Ronaldo will be playing for Al Nassr. Al Ettifaq is the opponent in this match.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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