Iran’s Saeid Ezzatollahi will miss the upcoming 2019 AFC Asian Cup, set to kick off on January 5 in the UAE, as the Iranian will face another three weeks on the sidelines with a quadriceps injury.
The 22-year-old, who joined the English Championship side Reading FC on a season-long loan from Russian club FC Rostov, picked up the injury during an international duty in mid-October.
The news came as major blow to Iran’s coach Carlos Queiroz’s team selection as the Portuguese will now have to head into the tournament without his regular starter in the holding midfield position.
Ezzatollahi has only played in four matches for Reading since signing for the club in August but has proved his worth with some eye-catching displays.
Also in the Iranian squad, Brighton’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Ali Qolizadeh – who joined Belgian’s Charleroi this season – are facing a race against time as both wingers will hope to recover in time to represent the country in the Asian Cup.
Queiroz is set to announce the final 23-man squad for the competition today.
Iran will face Qatar in its final preparation fixture in Doha on December 31 before flying to the UAE.
Iran’s campaign will start on January 7 in the Group D opener against Yemen in Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.
Iraq and Vietnam are the other two teams of the group.