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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

UAE star Omar Abdulrahman expected to miss 2019 Asian Cup after scans reveal ACL tear

National team's star player sustained the injury during a club game for Al Hilal and tests reveal that he will require surgery

Omar Abdulrahman is set to undergo surgery on a cruciate ligament tear and is unlikely to be fit in time for the 2019 Asian Cup. AFP
Omar Abdulrahman is set to undergo surgery on a cruciate ligament tear and is unlikely to be fit in time for the 2019 Asian Cup. AFP

UAE star Omar Abdulrahman will almost certainly miss the 2019 Asian Cup after scans confirmed he had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Al Hilal announced the news on their social media accounts on Tuesday night, stating the midfielder, his national team’s prize asset, required surgery on an injury sustained at the weekend.

Abdulrahman, 27, was stretched off during Saturday's clash against Al Shabab Riyadh after jarring his right leg when reaching for a pass in the fifth minute. He was soon pictured in tears on the Hilal bench and later departed the stadium on crutches.

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There had been hope that Abdulrahman would be out for only six weeks at most, but it now appears he will missJanuary's Asian Cup, in the UAE, altogether.

No official confirmation came from the Football Association immediately following the news, although it is understood rehabilitation will stretch far beyond the event.

Abdulrahman’s absence would represent a huge blow not only to the player and the UAE, but to the entire tournament. The former Al Ain captain, the 2016 Asian player of the year, is one of the most celebrated footballers on the continent and was expected to shine at its showpiece football event. He starred at the most recent Asian Cup in 2015 as the national team took bronze in Australia - their best result on foreign soil.

The tournament, played in the Emirates for only the second time and first since 1996, runs from January 5-February 1. It has been expanded to 24 teams, with the UAE drawn in Group A alongside Bahrain, India and Thailand. Alberto Zaccheroni’s side open the event against their Gulf neighbours at Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 5.