Sydney: Sydney FC`s Iraqi midfielder Ali Abbas was devastated after suffering a knee injury which will sideline him until 2016 and has ruled him out of January`s Asian Cup, his club coach Graham Arnold said on Tuesday.
Abbas tore his anterior cruciate ligament, medial ligament and damaged the capsule at the back of his left knee after being tackled by Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Iacopo La Rocca in Saturday`s derby.
The 28-year-old, who was recently recalled to the Iraq squad for the first time since he sought asylum in Australia in 2007, will be sidelined for 14 to 15 months, ending his hopes of playing in the Jan. 9-31 Asian Cup in his adopted home.
"It`s a huge loss to lose a player for 14 to 15 months," said Arnold.
"It`s a huge loss for a player not to be able to represent his country at the Asian Cup here and it`s a big challenge for the kid`s career to try and come back."
Arnold was left fuming at the decision not to punish La Rocca for the tackle which caused the injury in Saturday`s 1-1 draw, either on the pitch or retroactively through the A-League`s match review panel.
He was further incensed by the actions of the Wanderers players, accusing two of them of "high-fiving" as Abbas was being carried off the pitch.
Abbas was an 89th minute substitute in the 2007 Asian Cup final, in which Iraq beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 to complete a fairytale run to their maiden continental title.