x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Amer Abdulrahman back from injury lay-off just in time for UAE national team

Mahdi Ali, the UAE manager, received a welcome boost as key midfielder Amer Abdulrahman returned to action after a 10-month injury lay-off and put in an impressive performance in the national team’s 2-1 loss to Italian club Udinese in a practice game.

The UAE's Amer Abdulrahman, right, shown during an Asian Cup 2015 qualifying match against Vietnam. Luong Thai Linh / EPA / February 6, 2013
The UAE's Amer Abdulrahman, right, shown during an Asian Cup 2015 qualifying match against Vietnam. Luong Thai Linh / EPA / February 6, 2013

Mahdi Ali, the UAE manager, received a welcome boost as key midfielder Amer Abdulrahman returned to action after a 10-month injury lay-off and put in an impressive performance in the national team’s 2-1 loss to Italian club Udinese in a practice game.

The Baniyas man, the fulcrum of the UAE midfield alongside Al Ain star Omar Abdulrahman, was injured during the national team’s training camp in Malaysia last October.

He has not played a match since, going to Italy and the UK for surgery and treatment, and was forced to miss the last four of the UAE’s Asian Cup ­qualifiers.

Now, as Mahdi Ali’s men prepare for a busy winter – a congested few months will see them going to Riyadh to defend their Gulf Cup crown in November and then travel to Australia for the Asian Cup in January – the 25-year-old midfielder’s return to action is certainly a positive sign.

Ahmed Ali’s performance on the night was another positive for the UAE as the striker is also making a return to the team after two years on the sidelines following his appearance at the 2012 London Olympics.

Ali played the full match and earned the 87th-minute free kick that led to Habib Fardan pulling one back for the UAE after Geijo had put Udinese ahead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute.

Alexis Zapata made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute.

The UAE, who have been training in Austria since August 13, will meet Norway away on Wednesday in an international friendly before returning to their base in Leinz to take on Lithuania on September 3 and Paraguay on September 7.

Ismail Matar will not play any part in those games as the Al Wahda veteran has left for Munich to seek treatment after injuring cartilage in his left knee earlier in the training camp.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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