Ali dismissed suggestions Abdulrahman was carrying an injury from Friday’s quarter-final win over Japan, insisting the 23-year-old was ready to go.


“We don’t have any injuries in our team. Omar was not limping and ran normal,” Ali told reporters on Monday.

“Everybody is ready for the game. Hamdan Al Kamali was injured before the game against Japan in training, but we have no other injuries.”

Ali also scoffed at comments by Australian defender Trent Sainsbury that Abdulrahman was ‘not the hardest worker’, refusing to buy into any pre-game trash talking.

“We don’t keep attention about what they are saying here,” Ali said. “Omar Abdulrahman, he shows all the talent and skill and he is one of the best players in the tournament.

“We don’t need to say anything about that… what the Australian team are saying, this is something to concern them. We are only concerned about our team.”

UAE will go into the match at Newcastle’s Hunter Stadium as clear underdogs but not without some hope.

They had to dig deep to beat Japan on penalties after they finished tied at 1-1 after extra time.

They also have a good pedigree in the Asian Cup, reaching the final in 1996 and with real ambitions of emulating that feat in 2015, even if it means upsetting the tournament hosts.

“We will fight and keep going and not let it go very easy. We are very confident in our team and our players that you will see on the field,” Ali said.

“Australia are one of the best in Asia and we have seen them qualify for the semi-finals. They are a very good team with a good group of young and experienced players and they have a good coach.

“When we came here we announced our goal was to achieve the semi-final and our first goal has been achieved.

“Now the second part is that we aim to reach the final and we will work very hard to reach our level and reach the final.”

(Writing by Julian Linden in Sydney; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)