Manchester City may live to regret their failure to sign Emirati midfield sensation Omar Abdulrahman after he put in a virtuoso performance to help UAE upset the odds and send Japan crashing out of the Asian Cup.
The 23-year-old previously came close to signing for City after the last Olympic games, having spent time at the Etihad on trial, as reported by The National, but was ultimately unable to sign the contract offered to him by the club following work permit issues.
He subsequently returned to Al Ain in Abu Dhabi, where he has continued to impress over the past three years.
And Abdulrahman’s stock may have just risen even further after the midfielder set up UAE’s first goal in the 1-1 draw and then subsequently scored a sublime Panenka-style penalty in the eventual shootout.
Misses from Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa eventually saw Japan crash out, with the Blue Samurai dominating much of the match but only able to find an equaliser in the final 10 minutes of the game.
UAE and Abdulrahman will now march on to a semi-final meeting with hosts Australia.
The Socceroos sealed a place in the last four with a 2-0 win over China that also featured a memorable bicycle-kick goal from former Everton star Tim Cahill.