Related Manchester City delight their UAE fans with 3-0 win over Al Ain Al Ain await Manchester City decision over Omar Abdulrahman
Samir Nasri was hugely impressed with the support Manchester City received after helping the Premier League champions secure a 3-0 win over Al Ain on Thursday night.
City secured their second league title just under a week ago and have since been spending time in the United Arab Emirates, meeting with fans and owner Sheikh Mansour Zayed Al Nahyan.
Fans in the UAE were then handed the chance to see numerous City stars in action at the stunning Hazza Bin Zayed stadium, with Nasri particularly impressing against Al Ain.
The mercurial midfielder has had a tough few days after discovering that he was not selected in the France squad for the World Cup in Brazil this summer. However, he was able to put his troubles behind him thanks to the vociferous support he received at Al Ain’s impressive new stadium.
“It was really important to come here and show that we take friendly games seriously,” said Nasri. "It was an honour to come here.
“They showed us a lot of respect. The stadium from the outside and inside is amazing. The atmosphere was great as well.
“I did not think the fanbase was that strong out here, but it was a privilege to go to Marina Mall on Tuesday and share that with the fans.
"They have the installation to be a top club. [Al Ain] are really, really lucky."
Nasri had a hand in the opening goal as his sublime through ball found Portuguese youngster Marcos Lopes who coolly converted the chance, much to the delight of thousands of City fans.
"It is an amazing feeling playing this friendly game for the first time in this amazing stadium. I am feeling really happy to be part of this club,” stated Lopes.
"In Manchester we felt the support of all the fans, and came here to Abu Dhabi and felt the love here. It is good to know the fans love the club and players.”
Lopes was also impressed with Al Ain, who made some 25 substitutions in the ninety minutes but showed glimpses of their talent.
"They are good players, Al Ain are a good team,” added Lopes. “Thank you to them and good luck [in the President’s Cup final].”
Manchester City delighted their fans in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday night as a string of first team stars helped the Premier League champions secure a 3-0 win over Al Ain at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium.
Just days after defeating West Ham United to secure their second league triumph in three years, City boss Manuel Pellegrini elected to start a host of big names, much to the delight of the 22,000-plus fans packed into the hugely impressive arena.
The Chilean boss may have rested the players heading to Brazil for the World Cup but the side still possessed some real attacking talent with Samir Nasri and Stevan Jovetic impressing throughout.
But it was one of City’s youngsters who grabbed the opening goal after 63 minutes as Portuguese forward Marcos Lopes ran onto a wonderful through ball from Nasri to race clear and coolly slot home.
Jovetic would add a second 15 minutes later when latching onto another superb ball from Nasri before turning one way, then another and sliding the ball into the far corner.
A third goal came just minutes before the final whistle when youngster Jordi Hiwula stepped up to convert a penalty and delight a number of City fans in the crowd.
Al Ain had a raft of chances of their own with Soufian Al Aloudi hitting the post in the final minutes, while home favourite Omar Abdulrahman had gone close in the first half after seeing his clipped effort well saved by Costel Pantilimon.
Despite the result for Al Ain it was largely a party atmosphere inside the stadium, with supporters keen to show their support to the home side who still have a chance of winning some silverware when they play Al Ahli in the President's Cup final.
They would make some 23 substitutes in total but it was a memorable occasion for all of the players who stayed long after the final whistle to applaud their illustrious rivals.