LONDON: Al-Nasr gave it a good go but ultimately they were outclassed by an Arsenal side not light on experience, as the Londoners beat their Dubai hosts 3-2 at the Al-Maktoum Stadium.
The match wrapped up Unai Emery’s side’s mid-season training camp and provided a big-match opening for the refurbished stadium.
Lacazette was one of a number of big-name players to take the field for the North Londoners. (Reuters)
It would have been all too easy and understandable if the Gunners had rested their big names. But the Spanish boss played as strong as side as he could with both Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette playing over an hour.
Despite the impressive line-up Arsenal, however, were the ones who fell behind — Ronnie Fernandez hitting a brilliant shot from outside the area to stun the visitors and Petr Cech in the Gunners goal. It was no more than the hosts deserved having looked the livelier of the teams in the opening exchanges.
Ronie Fernandez fired in an excellent opener for Al-Nasr to give the hosts an unexpected lead. (Reuters)
The lead was not to last long, though, as Denis Suarez, on loan from Barcelona, set up Carl Jenkinson to level the scores with the break approaching.
Emery, as expected, made five changes at half-time with Ozil and Lacazette staying on the pitch to combine for Arsenal’s second — the German teeing up the French striker with an exquisite pass to make the score 2-1.
The refurbished Al-Maktoum Stadium looked in fine shape for the big match. (Reuters)
That then became 3-1 when teenager Tyreece John-Jules rounded the keeper before slotting home.
Al-Nasr had looked good throughout the clash and their last-minute consolation — a Khaled Jasal penalty — was no more than they deserved.
Exciting young gun Tyreece John-Jules scores the winner in a memorable match for the 18-year-old. (Reuters)
For Arsenal the focus returns to the Premier League where they are battling it out with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United for a spot in the top four.
Al-Nasr's Khaled Jasal slots home the consolation penalty for the hosts to make it 3-2. (Reuters)