UAE AFC World Cup 2018 Qualifier: Mahdi Ali excludes injured Amer Abdulrahman from squad to face Japan

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The Al Ain midfielder has been sidelined through injury.

UAE national team coach Mahdi Ali has decided to leave Amer Abdulrahman out of the squad to face Japan in an Asian World Cup 2018 qualifier on Thursday.

The Al Ain player suffered an injury to his knee during a training session that took place on Sunday evening and is scheduled to see a specialist to determine the full extent of the injury.

The news comes as a blow to UAE who are looking to reach their second ever World Cup finals. They currently sit in fourth place in Group B, level on points with Australia, who they meet next week, and one point off leaders Saudi Arabia. Japan are second on goal difference with the first round of fixtures completed.

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For his part, Abdulrahman, wished his colleagues well ahead of the clash with Japan. 

"I wished to continue in the team after being called-up to the national squad, but I have full confidence in the rest of the players led by coach Ali, to show their best in order to achieve the desired results."

Abdulrahman believes each team in the group have the ability to qualify for the next round. 

"I think all the teams have the chance to qualify as winners of the group. However, if we are going to do that, we need to achieve a positive result against Japan."

UAE face Japan on Thursday at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium at 1930 GST.