Asian Champions League: Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr win opener in Iran

Mohammed Qassem scores against Persepolis for Al-Nassr
Mohammed Qassem (left) scored the second goal as Al-Nassr beat Persepolis in Iran

Cristiano Ronaldo made a winning debut in the Asian Champions League as he captained Al-Nassr to a 2-0 win over Persepolis in Iran on Tuesday evening.

Ronaldo played a key role in Al-Nassr's 62nd-minute opener, instigating the move that resulted in Persepolis' Danial Esmaeilifar scoring an own goal.

Ten minutes later, Al-Nassr left-back Mohammed Qassem shot high past keeper Alireza Beiranvand to secure the win.

The game marked the first time a Saudi club has played in Iran since 2016.

Ronaldo was also involved in a flashpoint when Persepolis midfielder Milad Sarlak was given a second yellow card for appearing to stamp on the 38-year-old's boot.

In the first half, Ronaldo came close to scoring himself but was left visibly frustrated after he could only send his close-range header straight at Iran international Beiranvand.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo - formerly of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus - is seeking to add an Asian Champions League title to his five Uefa Champions League titles, with the three points in Tehran seeing Al-Nassr take an early lead in Group E.

The Portuguese star was mobbed when he and his team mates landed in Iran earlier this week, for a game also notable for reasons other than Ronaldo's presence.

It was the first game between Saudi and Iranian clubs played in Iran for seven years, after the Asian Football Confederation announced a "ground-breaking agreement" earlier this month between the two countries' federations.

Iran and Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties seven years ago, meaning Asian Champions League matches had been played at neutral grounds.

However, the match at the Azadi Stadium was played without fans after the AFC upheld a one-game ban for Persepolis as punishment for a social media post by the club in 2020 that caused offence to an Indian team.