Michael Olunga not bothered by Cristiano Ronaldo and co as Al Duhail take on Al-Nassr in must-win match

© Al Duhail X.

STARS ABROAD Michael Olunga not bothered by Cristiano Ronaldo and co as Al Duhail take on Al-Nassr in must-win match

Joel Omotto 06:00 - 24.10.2023

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga wants his side Al Duhail to handle Al-Nassr collectively and not look at dangerman Cristiano Ronaldo in Tuesday’s Asian Champions League tie

Harambee Stars captain and Al Duhail striker Michael Olunga is unfazed by the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane in the Al-Nassr squad ahead of Tuesday’s Asian Champions League meeting between the two clubs.

Al Duhail face a star-studded Al-Nassr in Riyadh in what is a must-win match for them if they are to proceed from their group after collecting just one point from two matches so far, following a goalless draw with Istiklol of Tajikistan in September before losing 1-0 to Iranian outfit Persepolis this month.

That defeat marked the end of Hernan Crespo’s rein as coach with former Paris Saint-Germain tactician Christophe Galtier installed as his replacement and he faces a big test on Tuesday night.

Ronaldo has been in hot form this season as he is the Saudi Pro League’s leading scorer with 11 goals and has also netted once in the Champions League, making Al Duhail’s task even more difficult but Olunga feels his side should not focus on individuals but the entire team.

“Our preparations for this match were good, everyone is ready for it, and everyone respects the capabilities. Al-Nasr players, we know that we have to work on ourselves in order to present a strong match in a collective manner,” Olunga said during the pre-match press conference on Monday evening.

"When you talk about Cristiano Ronaldo, you talk about one of the best players in the world, and for me it is an honor to play on the same field with him...but our goal tomorrow is to win the match.

“The match is of great importance to us, and we must come out with a positive result, and in order to achieve this goal, we must respect our opponent and give our utmost effort on the field.

“Al-Nasr has a number of distinguished players who have succeeded in winning many titles in their professional career, but we will face a complete system and we will not face every player alone, and our motive for which we will enter the match is to achieve a positive result that will help us continue our Asian journey.”

Galtier’s first match in charge of Al Duhail was a 2-0 win over Al-Gharafa in the Qatar Stars Cup group stage last week when Olunga was away on international duty but he will be relying on the Kenyan international at the Al-Awwal park Stadium.

Olunga is third on the goal scoring charts in the Qatar Stars League with five goals from as many games and this will be his first meeting with Ronaldo since March 2018 when the Kenyan was turning out for Girona while the Portugal captain was playing for Real Madrid both in La Liga.

Al-Nassr lead Group E with maximum six points after a 2-0 win over Persepolis before edging out Istiklol 3-1 while the Iranian side are second on three after their win over Al Duhail.