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Clinical Asamoah Gyan scores to hand Al-Ain President's Cup

Published on: 18 May 2014
Asamoah Gyan

Ghana superstar Asamoah Gyan’s scored with a first-half tap-in that proved enough as Al Ain ended Al Ahli’s treble dream with a 1-0 win in the President’s Cup final on Sunday.

Arabian Gulf League and Cup winners Ahli had won all three previous meeting this season, but it was the Boss who deservedly took the lead as the Ghanaian side-footed home in the 32nd minute.

Omar Abdulrahman had a great chance to make it two shortly after half-time but the Red Knights rallied in the second period and hit the woodwork twice in a matter of seconds, through Ahmed Khalil and Ismail Al Hammadi.

That would be the closest they came to an equaliser though as Al Ain saw out a nerve-shredding four minutes of injury time to seal their sixth President’s Cup title.

Coming against the team that has swept all before them this season while coached by their former boss, Cosmin Olaroiu, will only make the achievement sweeter for the Garden City club.

Whether it is enough to keep Zlatko Dalic in the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium hot-seat, only time will tell.

Ahli were bidding for a clean sweep of domestic honours, having also won the curtain-raising UAE Super Cup, but as kick-off approached in Abu Dhabi it was the supporters of Al Ain who were in better voice.

And after the national anthems and the Boss’ now customary huddle, that fanfare from the stands transferred onto the pitch where Dalic’s side controlled the game from the first whistle.

Omar Abdulrahman, the unexpected perpetrator of a first-minute reducer, flashed an effort wide from 25 yards in the 13th minute.

Sixty seconds later the playmaker found the ball in an inviting position again, thanks to a combination of Gyan and older brother Mohamed, but he dragged his shot past the far post.

Mohamed Abdulrahman would then force Ahli keeper Saif Yousif into a routine stop as the Red Knights were confined to using the pace of Ismail Al Hammadi on the break.

Although had Luis Jimenez not hurdled Mohammed Fayez’s reckless challenge in the box in the 29th minute, the Red Knights may well have had a penalty.

Within three minutes, though, the Boss lead. Mohammed Ahmed’s comical air shot mattered little as Al Ain maintained the pressure and when Basheer Saeed deflected Fayez’s cross from the left into the path of Omar Abdulrahman, the No10 calmly played the ball across goal for Gyan to tap home.

It could have been worse for Ahli at the break but Yousif was able to tip an Ismail Ahmed header over the bar.

Al Ain keeper Khalid Essa looked far from happy with some of his team-mates as he left the pitch at half-time but within a minute of the restart his side almost doubled their lead.

Omar Abdulrahman found himself in acres of space but as he continued his run into the box Yousif was grateful to see his shot blocked behind.

And the Red Knights should have levelled shortly afterwards but having caught Al Ain napping in their right-back area, Ciel blazed over with Ismail Ahmed closing in.

But while Olaroiu’s side were enjoying a greater share of possession, it was still their opponents who looked more likely to get another goal as Ibrahim Diaky went close twice within a minute.

Olaroiu reacted by throwing on Ahmed Khalil for the sub-par Hugo Viana, and the UAE striker would rattle the crossbar with a diving header, before Al Hammadi diverted the rebound onto the woodwork again.

Ahli now sensed their chance with Ciel whipping a free-kick just over the bar from 20 yards as the Boss looked to consolidate their advantage.

It looked a risky strategy against a side with four forwards and Jimenez now on the pitch but it was one that paid off as the Boss finished what had been a frustrating campaign on an extreme high.

Al Ain (4-2-3-1): Essa 7; M Ahmed 6, I Ahmed 7, Juma 7, M Fayez 6; Saeed 7, Radoi 7; Diaky 6, O Abdulrahman 7, M Abdulrahman 7; Gyan 8 Subs: F Fayez for M Fayez (73’, 6), Brosque for M Abdulrahman (78’), Barman for Diaky (84’)

Al Ahli (4-2-3-1): Yousif 6; Haikal 6, Abbas 7, Saeed 7, Sanqoor 6; Hassan 6, Viana 5; Al Hammadi 7, Jimenez 6, Ciel 5; Grafite 6 Subs: Khalil for Viana (64’, 7), Hussein for Haikal (82’)


  • D Light says:
    May 19, 2014 09:51 am
    Hi Selfmade, it's a huge relief to know u 're being impersonated. I have memories of ya positive objective touch on issues and didn't know what happened until now. Gud to know u not the JERK!
  • selfmade says:
    May 19, 2014 04:27 am
    @ d light.... Just ignore the guy using my I.d. to insult u.. Am the real SELFMADE and I ll never insult u if u don't insult me!! Leave that Lil clown becasus ALLAH LL STRIKE HIM DOWN WITH THUNDER
  • Troy says:
    May 18, 2014 10:24 pm
    So you Guys would be happy had Gyan played and got injured huh? Don't you people know we need Gyan to stay fresh so he doesn't get injured for the world cup? Am even surprise at someone who's suRprised at another person.
  • Selfmade says:
    May 18, 2014 07:29 pm
    D LIGHT OR A LIGHT OR B LIGHT OR C UP TO Z light.Stop your thrash.What have done for Ghana .idiot
  • Selfmade says:
    May 18, 2014 07:35 pm
    Askantwi ,l never knew you to be such a fool.The Ain coach decided to rest Gyan for crying out loud.You are too know and an idiot.Ebei.Wagyimi dodo.
  • D LIGHT says:
    May 18, 2014 08:55 pm
    It's funny the level of maturity some of u display on this blog. I went on a sabbatical on dis site when kids like selfmade started filtering de blog wit their lack of PG attitudes. I'm kinda worried for ya parents b'cos u look so troubled upstairs. Now back to the subject, i find it funny why Al Ain played all their players including Omar Abdulrahman, who has also practically featured in almost every game dis season n decided to rest only Gyan in his squad. Why Fanatism over Objectivity my brothers?
  • Papa Nkrumah says:
    May 18, 2014 05:50 pm
    Good job Gyan. Now it is time to have some rest and begin the REAL JOB. We know you and your guys can deliver so go all out! In other news, I am very shocked by what Drogba has done in the wake of the Turkey disaster. Wow!!! I million Euro cash donation paaa to the family. God will continue to bless that man ooo....
  • D LIGHT says:
    May 18, 2014 05:55 pm
    Hahaha, a walk in the Park League. I wonder why he refused to play the Man city Match few days ago... I bet he wouldn't want the world to see his Wackitude!
  • Askantwi says:
    May 18, 2014 06:39 pm
    Yes, why he didn't play that match beats me. He knows he is not up to it. But, Bob Marley said one time, "He who fights and run away lives to fight another day". The world cup is up and coming. we shall see.
  • Adebayo says:
    May 18, 2014 06:46 pm
    @D LIGHT Gyan did not refuse to play the Man City game. It was the coach's decision to rest him. He has played every minute of every competitive match for the club and deserved to be rested in a friendly fixture. Man City similarly rested its key players and Al-Ain didn't care too much about the result so they made so many subs to get as many players as possible get the action!