Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Monday July 25 2011
Wigan Athletic played out a goalless draw against United Arab Emirates side Al Ain on Sunday at the Austrian training camp, Latics Media Manager Ed Jones kindly forwarded a match report:
LATICS 0 - 0 AL AIN SSC
No score for Roberto Martinez's men in their first real pre-season outing, but plenty of really good signs on an evening when the team did more than enough to win relatively comfortably - Ben Watson and Mohamed Diame came closest with two second half rasping efforts that hit the bar and forced a great save respectively.
Against a side who have just won the Middle East equivalent of the Champions League, Latics dominated possession more or less from start to finish, and maintained a pace and intensity to their play for the full ninety minutes, a factor which pleased the manager very much.
'Yes, I am happy in the main,' Martinez said afterwards, 'even though it was a pre season friendly, there was a really good collective desire and some excellent individual performances. If the theme of the new season is to start with the drive and intensity we showed in the latter part of last season, then this was a sign we are moving in the direction at least. And fingers crossed, nothing but a few aches and bruises.'
This was a good team performance first and foremost, but there were one or two real sparkling individual performances too. Victor Moses caught the eye, while Watson and Diame orchestrated most of what Latics did well.
There were enough chances created and with a little more accuracy in finishing, the game would have been sewn up. The two best of them came late on. Great work on the right from Jordi Gomez allowed Watson to send a piledriver goal-wards from the edge of the box, the lunging Ahmed Alshamsi just managing to get a touch and divert the ball on to the cross bar.
Moments later another really sweet crossfield ball from Watson, met by Diame on the edge of the box. A deft control bought him a yard of space and the impressive Al Ain keeper Dawoud Sulaiman had to be at full stretch to prevent the shot going high to his right into the top corner.
At the other end, Mike Pollitt had to make a couple of saves and an otherwise really solid defence had only one real scare when Mohanad Salem ghosted to the far post but shot wide from close in.
Pollitt, Boyce, Caldwell, Gohouri (Golobart 72), Figueroa, Watson, McCarthy (McArthur, 46), Diame, Gomez, Moses, Di Santo (Sammon, 46).
Subs: McArthur, Sammon, Redmond
AL AIN - starting XI
Sulaiman, Yaslem, Fayez, Fayes, Alshamsi, Salem, Radoi, Ahmed, Malalla, Scocco, I. Ahmed.
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Date:Monday July 25 2011
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