Emmanuel Emenike failed to score in open play, but converted his kick in the penalty shootout as his is United Arab Emirates club, Al Ain, beat Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, Saturday night, to win the maiden Cup of Friendship tournament played at the Mohammed V Sports Complex in Casablanca.
The game ended 3-3 at the end of regulation time, and Al Ain won 5-4 in the ensuing penalty shootout, with Emenike scoring one of the kicks for Al Ain. The Cup of Friendship event is a competition played between UAE league winners and Morocco champions. Reportedly, a delaying Nouseer gave Wydad Casablanca the lead in the fifth minute, before Omar Abdulrahman equalised for Al Ain 10 minutes later.
Farlbrice Ondama restored the hosts’ lead in the 22nd minute, before Lee Myung-Joo levelled for Al Ain three minutes to end of the first half. Al Ain then led for the first time when Amine Attouchi scored in the 56th minute, but Salaheddine equalised 3-3 to drag the game to penalties.
And to give more importance to the confrontation, the organizing committee distributed the $1 million prize money as follows: $ 700,000 for the winner and $ 300,000 for the loser. Prior to the weekend game, Emenike had fired blanks in four friendly games played by Al Ain, with the club failing to win any against Uzbek Locomotiv (1-0), Hull City (4-0), Al Hilal (2-1) and Al Sadd (0-0), prompting coach Zlatko Dalic to declare that Emenike and other new signings need more time to adapt.
“The new foreign players have begun to gel with the team very well; we have seen improvement in Emmanuel Emenike. “I believe that the Nigerian, Dutch (Ryan Babel) and Brazilian (Bastos) need more time with the team to give their best for the team,” the Croatian coach remarked. “I am happy with the performances of the players and the team, but we are yet to reach our potentials,” he added.