Saudi Arabia striker Nassir Al Shamrani could be forced to miss his country’s Asian Cup opener against China after aggravating an old injury, his coach said on Friday.
Al Shamrani, the reigning AFC Champions League Player of the Year, incurred the wrath of Australian fans -- and an eight-match Champions League ban -- after spitting and headbutting at the club competition’s final against Western Sydney.
Al Ahli coach Cosmin Olaroiu, in temporary charge of Saudi Arabia for the Asian Cup, said the Al Hilal forward was in doubt for Saturday’s game with China, after a previous injury flared up in this month’s friendly with South Korea.
“He had some problems against Korea,” said Olaroiu. “It’s something he had before. Our medical staff has tried to improve him but we will see. We still have time.”
Al Shamrani scored 10 goals in Al Hilal’s run to the Champions League final, where the hot favourites narrowly lost 1-0 to tournament debutants Western Sydney.
The striker sparked a melee at the end of the decisive second leg when he tried to spit at and headbutt at Australian defender Matthew Spiranovic.
Al Shamrani’s stock plummeted still further after arrival in Australia when he appeared to shove a fan on his way out of the tunnel for a friendly against Bahrain in Geelong.
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