Omar Abdulrahman (white jersey) of Al Ain club fight for the ball against Khamis Ismail (dark jersey) of Al Jazira club during their Etisalat Pro match at the Tahnoun bin Mohammad stadium in Al Qatarra club Al Ain. Image Credit: HADRIAN HERNANDEZ/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s star midfielder Omar Abdul Rahman will miss his country’s encounter against Uzbekistan on Friday in the 2015 Asian Cup qualifier because of an injury sustained during his club Al Ain’s match in the AFC Champions League against Esteghlal of Iran last week.

The absence will be a blow for the UAE as Abdul Rahman’s exceptional abilities to break down rival defences will be missed. “It is sad to lose Omar but it is fate and we cannot do anything to prevent that,” Mutrif Al Shamsis the team’s manager said. “We have a great confidence in the other players and I am sure they will do their best in the match to maintain their winning streak.”

Head coach Mahdi Ali has invited Sultan Bargash, Al Jazira’s midfielder to join the squad to replace Omar while Al Ain’s central defender Fares Juma has been drafted to replace Ali Al Ameri, the Al Jazira defender, who was excluded for disciplinary reasons from the training camp which started on Thursday at the Zayed Sports City. Al Ameri has been dropped because he could not apparently report for the camp on time.

Bargash was incidentally the player who scored the winner against Uzbekistan in Tashkent in 2010 in the qualifiers of the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar.

The training sessions will be meanwhile closed to all media, local and foreign, and will be open only for 15 minutes on Thursday (March 21) at Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Jazira Club, the match’s venue.

The UAE leads Group E with three points from a single match after beating Vietnam 2-0 while Uzbekistan and Hong Kong ended their match in Tashkent in a goalless tie to collect one point each.