UAE striker Ismail Matar suffered a cheekbone fracture after he was elbowed by Sharjah's Igor Coronado during a 3-2 defeat at Al Nahyan Stadium on Monday in the Arabian Gulf League.
The striker has undergone a surgery on Tuesday night and is expected to be out for four weeks. It remains to be seen whether the striker can get fit in time to appear in the AFC Asian Cup opener against Bahrain on January 5.
“The referee didn’t see the incident and didn’t take action for that foul, but Ismail was hurt badly. We don’t know the extent of the injury and we don’t know for how long he’ll be out of action, but according to the early medical reports, he will be out of action for at least four weeks,” said Ahmed Al Rumaithi, chairman of the club’s board of directors to the National.
The 35-year-old striker has got 95 caps for his country and is an integral member of Alberto Zaccheroni's squad.
Previously, the Al-Hilal playmaker Omar Abdulrahman has already been ruled out with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
Matar scripted his comeback to the UAE National football squad after more than a year and came on from the bench in two recent friendlies - a goalless draw against Bolivia on November 16 and a 2-0 win over Yemen four days later, both in Dubai.
Matar last got his name on the scoresheet for UAE in their World Cup qualifier against Iraq, which they won 2-0, at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi in November 2016.
UAE are placed in Group A alongside India, Bahrain and Thailand.