Matt Jones analyses the performance of Omar Abdulrahman following the UAE international's debut for Al Hilal after his defection from Al Ain
After his controversial exit from Al Ain, where he had been for 12 years, Crescent fans got their first sight of the frizzy-haired magician at Loftus Road on Saturday.
Hilal took a 2-0 lead through Brazilian playmaker Carlos Eduardo and Venezuela striker Gelmin Rivas, before Morocco midfielder Karim El Ahmadi’s deflected strike made a game of it.
Here, we analyse the performance of the man known simply as Amoory.
There would have been huge clamour to get a first glimpse of Abdulrahman back in the famous blue of the Crescent, but Al Hilal fans shouldn’t expect too much from a player who’s hardly participated in pre-season.
He was on the periphery largely in London, but did play a surprisingly physical part in his side’s killer second goal. Another pass that almost led to a goal was a small sign of what can be expected this season.
Flashes of class – There was one moment in the first half where Amoory advanced with the ball and sliced an audacious pass with the outside of the left boot through to Saudi Arabia international Salem Al Dawsari. It was Amoory personified, but Assaf Al Qarni was out quickly to prevent a goal. It was a rare flash but an insight into just what Hilal have on their hands.
Doing too much – This was his first action of note this summer so we mustn’t be too critical, but whereas UAE football fans are used to seeing passes threaded through the eye of the needle and the ball depart off Amoory’s boot with laser-beam precision, most of his attempts in London were very wayward.
Not a 9 – Abdulrahman is many things; sublime footballer, team leader, exquisite passer and owner of an impressive hair-do. A bustling, commanding No9 striker – not so much. The false-nine position is popular in football today, but here he looked isolated while his supreme talent was wasted.
16m – Abdulrahman’s first contribution of note is to get in the way of a fierce Thiago Carleto free-kick.
21m – Receives the ball and a neat touch takes him away from a defender but another black and yellow shirt clears.
26m – Another neat bit of skill on the touchline sees him skip away from a marker and bend a pass into midfield for a team-mate.
33m – Hilal should really be ahead and it was Amoory who sparked it. A quite audacious outside of the foot pass sets Al Dawsari racing away, Ittihad stopper Al Qarni is out to thwart him. Hilal try to rescue the situation but Abdullah Otayf’s final effort is fired high and wide.
38m – Tries to set up a chance but his ball into the box is a little aimless and Ittihad clear easily.
58m – Impish backheel looks simple but a classy touch helps to sustain Hilal attack.
61m – Amoory plays a part in Hilal’s killer second, tenaciously winning the ball back as Ittihad dally in clearing. The ball squeezes through to Eduardo who frees Rivas and he rounds the keeper calmly before slotting home.
75m – The playmaker is subbed off, to a rapturous reception
A far from spectacular outing at Loftus Road, but there’s no doubt that Amoory will soon settle into his new (old) home of Riyadh. He showed glimpses of his mercurial talent here and while he can and will play a lot better, superior team-mates in new surroundings should allow him to effect more influence on the bigger stage of Asia.