UAE fans will prepare for the worst and hope for the best on Tuesday when crocked star man Omar Abdulrahman’s availability for January 2019’s Asian Cup should be revealed.
Here, Sport360 runs through the permutations ahead of an expected consequential announcement from Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal about the long-term fitness of ‘Amoory’.
STATE OF PLAY
Abdulrahman was left in tears on Saturday when he jarred his right leg in an early collision during Hilal’s 1-0 derby win against Al Shabab Riyadh in the Saudi Professional League.
Attempts on Sunday to X-ray his knee for suspected damage to an anterior cruciate ligament were thwarted by swelling. Medical professionals will try again on Tuesday.
At best, he seems certain to miss next month’s key training camp in Dubai.
With the UAE then kicking off their continental campaign on home soil against Bahrain on January 5, this is a worrying time.
REASONS TO PANIC
The former Manchester City trialist’s dexterity in possession, deftness of pass and divine touch are difficult to match in Asia.
His unique – within the Emirates – skill set makes him an electrifying presence in a misfiring team that needs all the help it can get. An eye for goal was also present this month when he produced a superb curled leveller in the 1-1 draw with Honduras.
Alberto Zaccheroni’s miserly UAE have won two games from nine during 2018, scoring five times. With 2015 AFC Player of the Year Ahmed Khalil badly out of touch, Abdulrahman’s absence would provide another crippling blow.
REASONS TO STAY CALM
All that glitters isn’t always gold with Amoory.
In January 5’s Gulf Cup final, he missed penalties at the end of normal time and in the shootout to hand outsiders Oman a shock victory. A breaking of curfew the night before was soon revealed – he wouldn’t play again until September 6’s 2-0 loss to undercooked Trinidad and Tobago.
Abdulrahman electrified Australia during a run to third place in the Asian Cup 2015 edition. But a return of three goals in 15 qualifiers hampered faltering efforts to make World Cup 2018
Al Jazira creator Khalfan Mubarak, 23, has registered a leading seven assists in six Arabian Gulf League games this term. A heir apparent is in situ.
If the results of Tuesday’s scan goes against Amoory, the Asian Cup will be diminished.
Amoory cuts an iconic figure in Asian football. Be it through his mesmerising technique or trademark head of curls.
Sadly, a cure for the UAE’s recent travails seem beyond even him. His presence would, surely, not stop the misery.
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