Friendly: Al Ain 0-3 Man City
Al Ain 0-3 Manchester City: Comfortable win for Premier League champions in friendly
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In an exhibition game to open the brand-new Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, City started quickly and twice appealed for a penalty within the first three minutes. First, the ball appeared to strike a hand in the box before Aleksandar Kolarov was bundled over but the referee waved both appeals away.
Al Ain swiftly grew in confidence, despite the visitors dominating possession, and carved out a chance in the seventh minute, with a deep cross from the left finding Mohammed Salem, though he could only direct his resulting header wide of the post.
The near-miss served to further inspire the brave hosts and Omar Abdulrahman was then set away by an incisive pass, only for his chipped finish to be palmed over by Costel Pantilimon, much to the disgust of Yassine El Ghanassy, who had escaped his marker in the box.
But Al Ain's forward momentum was halted in the 17th minute, with Matija Nastasic crumpling to the floor in pain after a fairly innocuous challenge. The physios rushed on to treat the defender but, after a stoppage in play, the City man was able to continue and the break in play worked to City's advantage, with Jovetic swiftly pushing forward. The Montenegrin striker weaved his way through the Al Ain defence and snapped a shot at goal, though Waleed Salem was able to see the ball wide.
The opportunity appeared to prompt a change from the home side, with a remarkable quintuple substitution made in the 23rd minute.
Yet it did nothing to halt the flow of City's attacks, with Micah Richards the next to go close 10 minutes later. The right-back – who played a bit-part role in the Premier League season – latched onto a sumptuous pass from Jovetic and smashed an effort against the post, with Salem beaten.
In a bid to finish the half strongly, Manuel Pellegrini's men continued to pour forward and Kolarov dug out a superb cross from the left byeline in the 38th minute, which found Samir Nasri, but the Frenchman – axed from his country's World Cup squad earlier in the week – could not keep his volley down and fired over the crossbar.
With the second half only just underway, Nasri was again involved, with a fan running onto the pitch to cuddle his idol. The midfielder did not look too impressed and the pitch invader was quickly ushered away by security.
And it was Al Ain who had the first chance of the half, with Richard Wright – introduced at half-time – forced into a good save from Ismail Matar before a free kick was bent just wide.
The home side were swiftly made to pay for their profligacy, with Lopes opening the scoring in the 62nd minute, following a narrow miss from Jovetic. Nasri collected the ball on the halfway line and played a gorgeous through-ball to the 18-year-old, who coolly slotted home from just inside the box to give the fans a glimpse into the future of the Premier League champions.
Yet Lopes was soon crashing back down to earth, with the youngster firing wide from six yards out after a glorious cross from Kolarov.
And he was almost made to pay when Al Ain next pushed forward, with Wright forced into a stunning double save in the 70th minute. Just 60 seconds later, Dedryck Boyata collected the ball in his own half and rampaged through the Al Ain defence, though his eventual shot from inside the box kissed the post on its way wide.
City, though, would not be denied and Jovetic made it 2-0 in the 78th minute, the tricky forward springing the offside trap and beating the goalkeeper twice before powering home.
With confidence coursing through Jovetic's veins, the star played a glorious eye-of-the-needle pass to substitute Sinan Bytyqi inside the box but the youngster's caressed effort skipped narrowly wide.
And City finally rounded off their victory with just two minutes left – almost immediately after Al Ain had hit the post – with Hiwula scoring from the penalty spot, having drawn the offending foul himself.
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