Omar Abdulrahman shows flickers of former brilliance during first Al Jazira start

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Omar Abdulrahman (c) (Twitter/@UAFAAC).

UAE superstar Omar Abdulrahman showed flickers of brilliance during his first competitive start in almost a year when new employers Al Jazira defeated Oman’s Al Nasr Salalah 3-1 (4-1 on aggregate) and cruised into the Arab Club Champions Cup’s round of 16.

Abdulrahman, 28, had last appeared from kick-off on October 20, 2018 when he suffered extensive knee damage playing for Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal at Al Shabab. His rehabilitation took a major step forward at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Monday night.

Here is a deeper look into how the 2016 AFC Player of the Year got on:

30-SECOND REPORT

The Pride of Abu Dhabi came into the contest as hot favourites thanks to last week’s 1-0 first-leg victory at Al Saada Stadium.

Young UAE call-up Zayed Al Ameri got the only goal on that day – and he got two more in the capital. He slid in a seventh-minute opener after some amateurish Al Nasr defending, then later delicately chipped in on 67 minutes in a move instigated by Amoory’s swiftly taken free-kick.

These strikes sandwiched visiting forward Mohamed Khabib’s first-half injury time one-on-one that gave Nasr some belief. This would be definitively snubbed out on 82 minutes when Moroccan forward Mourad Batna lashed home a sensational dead ball from an acute angle to make it 3-1 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate.

The draw for the next round is set to be held on October 8.

GOT RIGHT

Going up through the gears: This was just a second appearance in black and white for Amoory since his shock summer arrival.

The former Al Ain idol logged 78 minutes of action, before being removed for great friend Mohammed Fawzi. This followed last week’s 14-minute cameo in Jazira’s 2-0 victory against Al Dhafra on opening night in the Arabian Gulf League, plus dabbles of action for the UAE versus Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

The ingenuity of old witnessed him take a quick free-kick to Batna, whose cross eventually fell to Al Ameri to make it 2-1. He also exhibited encouraging durability to recover when Slovenia anchor man Rok Elsner barrelled into him on 46 minutes and picked up a booking.

GOT WRONG

Doing too much: The 4-2-3-1 formation utilised by coach Jurgen Streppel granted Amoory freedom to flit across the front line.

This, however, did not work effectively on Monday. Their new star player’s lack of fixed position hindered several promising moves, a situation not helped by a clear – and understandable – lack of peak match fitness.

VERDICT

For Amoory, just being fit enough to feature from the off was a boon.

Fleeting moments, rather than sustained genius, defined him against the Oman Professional League’s runners-up. A lack of rhythm was to blame, this time.

Jazira must hope their huge investment will start coming up trumps in the near future.

RATING: 6/10

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