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Manchester City thrash Al Ain 3-0 without Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan

Al Ain were hammered 3-0 by visiting English champions Manchester City on Thursday night but the UAE giants were without their talismanic striker Asamoah Gyan.

Nasri excelled against UAE side Al Ain on Thursday night.

Al Ain were hammered 3-0 by visiting English champions Manchester City on Thursday night but the UAE giants were without their talismanic striker Asamoah Gyan.

There were huge hopes that Gyan could use the match to establish his place in world football but he was not included in the starting line-up with Al Ain eyeing the President’s Cup on Sunday.

Samir Nasri will have had better weeks in football, and he will certainly have had more challenging evenings than the one he enjoyed in Al Ain on Thursday night. 

But the Frenchman will go to sleep with a wry smile having created two goals of the highest order in what was a glorified training match for the Premier League champions in the UAE.

VIDEO Scroll down to watch match highlights as Man City cruised to victory over Al Ain

Greeting: At least this fan was happy to see Manchester City forward Samir Nasri

Greeting: At least this fan was happy to see Manchester City forward Samir Nasri

Friendly face: At least this fan was happy to see Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri

On the ball: Samir Nasri set up two goals for Manchester City in victory over Al Ain

On the ball: Samir Nasri set up two goals for Manchester City in victory over Al Ain

MATCH FACTS

Al Ain: Salem, Ahmed, Ahmad, Juma, Salem, Barman, Radoi, Al Ghanassy, Rahman, Abdulrahman, Brosque

Manchester City: Pantilimon (Wright 46), Boyata, Richards, Nastasic, Clichy (Leigh 79), Kolarov (Bytyqi 73), Rodwell (Huws 46), Garcia, Lopes, Nasri (Hiwula 79), Jovetic

Goals: Lopes 63, Jovetic 78, Hiwula pen 89

Att: 21,437

Having inexcusably been omitted from Didier Deschamps’ France World Cup squad, Nasri then had to fight off criticism after his girlfriends’ ill-advised Tweet about the national team.

Here, though, he let his feet do the talking, setting up Marco Lopes and Stevan Jovetic for goals in the second-half of a match which saw 25 substitutions made by the hosts.

Al Ain are the most successful team in UAE history and on Sunday play in the President’s Cup final.

With more than one eye on that, it was no surprise to see such lethargy in the 11 players who started, many of whom can expect to be named in the squad for the game against Al Ahli in three days time.

Within half an hour, each of them had been hooked – 10 at one time.

Manchester City cruise to 3-0 victory over Al Ain in the UAE

 


 

Glittering prize: Samir Nasri is presented with a gold medal after beating Al Ain

Glittering prize: Samir Nasri is presented with a gold medal after beating Al Ain

Glory boys: City captain Vincent Kompany shows off the Premier League trophy in Al Ain

Glory boys: City captain Vincent Kompany shows off the Premier League trophy in Al Ain

Vincent Kompany lifts the throphy  after the friendly match between Al Ain and Manchester City

City, meanwhile, included only those who won’t be travelling to Brazil in the coming weeks, including the likes of Aleksander Kolarov, Gael Clichy, Javi Garcia, Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell.  

Captain Kolarov, playing in an advanced role on the left ahead of Clichy, had a claim for a penalty as early as 25 seconds, trying a cheeky nudge and run move around the defender that he wouldn’t dream of attempting in the Premier League. 

The best of the early exchanges saw young Macros Lopes combine well with Nasri to send Stevan Jovetic clear. The Montenegrin’s dinked cross, though, was easily snaffled by goalkeeper Waleed Salem.

Delight: Marcos Lopes celebrates after scoring the opening goal for Manchester City against Al Ain

Delight: Marcos Lopes celebrates after scoring the opening goal for Manchester City against Al Ain

Burst: Dedryck Boyata scores Manchester City's second goal against Al-Ain

Burst: Dedryck Boyata scores Manchester City’s second goal against Al-Ain

The hosts really should have led in the eighth minute. Omar Abdulrahman, the golden boy of UAE sport who has been trailed at a number of Premier League clubs including City, wriggled clear near the byline and floated a sumptuous cross into centre-half Mohanad Salem; afforded the freedom of the six-yard box, he really should have done better than flash a header wide. 

Moments later, after Kolarov had slashed an effort wide from distance, the star man was it again, teasing Clichy into a challenge, skipping past him, and drawing a smart stop by Costel Pantilimon with a cute attempt. 

Next, Omar’s brother Mohamed, playing wide-left, blasted over, before Lopes hit back for City, seeing his effort smothered at the near post.

Acrobatic: Al Ain keeper Nawaf Al Khaldi makes a save against Manchester City

Acrobatic: Al Ain keeper Nawaf Al Khaldi makes a save against Manchester City

Acrobatic: Al Ain keeper Nawaf Al Khaldi makes a save against Manchester City

Acrobatic: Al Ain keeper Nawaf Al Khaldi makes a save against Manchester City

After a brief pause for the returning-to-fitness Nastasic to receive treatment to what appeared to be a hand wound – though it could have been to catch a breather in
this heat – Jovetic showed his class with darting run and shot. 

The impetus was somewhat taken out of the occasion on 20 minutes when the hosts made 10 – yes, TEN – changes, leaving only Australian striker Alex Brosque – a shock exclusion from the Socceroos’ World Cup squad – on, though 11 minutes later he was hooked for Adel Gamal. 

Few quite knew what to make of it, that was until Ismail Matar emerged from the bench. Matar, a bone fide legend in these parts having captained the UAE to two Gulf Cup successes, saluted the crowd who had all risen to their feet for him.

The cheer, considering he’s played his whole career at Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi, was intense.

Worthy of applause: Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan cheers his team on from inside the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium

Worthy of applause: Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan cheers his team on from inside the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium

Focused: Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic fights for the ball with Abdulaziz Fayez of Al-Ain

Focused: Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic fights for the ball with Abdulaziz Fayez of Al-Ain

It took a while – and a Mexican Wave – for the action on the field to become anything near exciting again; Clichy and Jovetic eeking out City’s best chance, teeing up Micah Richards who thundered against the near post.

The visitors, though, were in the ascendancy and went close through Nasri when perhaps the under fire Frenchman should have done better with his half-volley.
Before the break Richards, too, was wasteful. 

The second-half started amid farcical scenes. Two young fans bursting onto the pitch embracing both Nasri and Jovetic, high-fiving Lopes, hanging off the
crossbar and jumping back to their seats… all without a steward coming with 50 yards.

The two gentlemen in yellow bibs who did raise themselves from slumber to amble onto the pitch, looked like they’d rather be anywhere else in the world.

On 53 minutes, substitute stopper Richard Wright (remember him?) was forced into low save with his feet, and then the former England international was rooted to his spot as an unnamed substitute – yes, another one – curled a free kick just wide.

Ten minutes later, a kung-fu style block from Nastasic saved his keeper from once again being called into action. Al Ain were turning the screw, and they were also keeping the turnstile at the side of the pitch turning, too.

By the hour-mark, 14 substitutions had been made.

Case for the defence: Al Ain player Mohammed Abdulrahman (left) sees a shot blocked by Micah Richards

Case for the defence: Al Ain player Mohammed Abdulrahman (left) sees a shot blocked by Micah Richards

Right on cue, however, City broke the deadlock. A delicious outside-of-the-boot pass, which travelled some 30 yards, from Nasri sent Marcos Lopes in the clear. The 18-year-old Portuguese youth international, who has been on the books at the Etihad since 2011, had a long time to think about his finish, but despatched the ball with aplomb.

Moments later, he was gifted another opportunity, but prodded embarrassingly wide.

An excellent double-save from Wright, after a slip from Richards kept the visitors ahead, and after another couple of changes from the hosts – 25 now in total – Boyata burst out from the back and thundered through a crowd of players in a style akin to Patrick Vieira.

His shot, though, had all the hallmarks of a defender who had no idea how he’d reached this part of the pitch with the ball at his feet.

Someone with much more composure was Jovetic. The striker, who endured a rather underwhelming first season in England, latched onto yet another sumptuous pass from Nasri, and when he first touch took him too wide around the goalkeeper, the former Fiorentina man danced back inside and blasted home through two defenders stationed on the line.


There was still time for youngster Jordi Hiwula to slam home a penalty to complete the win.

READERS COMMENTS

  1. 21guns says:

    Gyan remember we need you safe,play with caution, I know if you played it will be a different story.

    You will once again show the world what sort of striker you are at Brazil,

    The second best African player who have scored many goals in the history of African football history, you will break ROGER MILLA’s record by all means.

    God bless Ghana

  2. OGYA says:

    The chickens always find a way to hide when the fox is around. We all know who the chicken is

  3. kkknj says:

    OGYA you talk stupid. Who do you think is the chicken.? you answer it?

  4. OHENENANA says:

    If Gyan played it would have been 3-1

  5. mohammed issah says:

    congratulation gyan for wining the golden shoe,hope u will do it in brazil 2014