UAE star Omar Abdulrahman makes long-awaited return from injury for Shabab Al Ahli

Playmaker, who joined the Dubai club in February, has not featured competitively in more than a year

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Omar Abdulrahman made his eagerly anticipated return to competitive action on Sunday night, with the Shabab Al Ahli playmaker introduced as a second-half substitute against Al Nasr.

Abdulrahman, 30, last played competitively in October last year, when he sustained a knee injury while representing Al Jazira in a UAE league match against Al Dhafra.

The UAE international, the 2016 Asian player of the year, required surgery and was then released in February by the Abu Dhabi club. He soon signed for Shabab Al Ahli, but has remained on the sidelines as the club enjoyed a fine conclusion to the season. The Dubai side, with manager Mahdi Ali back in charge, finished third in the table while also winning both the President’s Cup and the Arabian Gulf Cup.

Having been plagued by injury over the past few years, Abdulrahman came off the bench on Sunday in the 59th minute of the Adnoc Pro League encounter with Al Nasr at Al Maktoum Stadium, much to the delight of the spectators in attendance – irrespective of which team they supported.

The midfielder, who previously plied his trade with Al Ain and then briefly with Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia, then helped create a golden opportunity for the away side, only for Yahya Al Ghassani to find the side-netting. At the time, the score was 1-0 to Shabab Al Ahli.

The match finished 1-1, with Nasr midfielder Toze scoring a penalty three minutes from time to esnure a share of the spoils. Iran midfielder Mehdi Ghayedi had put Shabab Al Ahli ahead with a brilliant curled effort just after the hour.

The result means Shabab Al Ahli remain third in the Adnoc Pro League after 10 rounds, with Al Nasr in fourth. Both teams have 17 points, meaning they sit seven behind leaders Al Ain.

Updated: November 22, 2021, 7:53 AM